Booster jab creates ‘significant protection’ against Omicron, Israeli study confirms

Third jab increases neutralisation of Omicron variant 100-fold compared to two doses

Tim Wyatt
Monday 13 December 2021 10:11
Comments
<p>More evidence is emerging that a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine is needed to ensure protection against the Omicron variant</p>

More evidence is emerging that a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine is needed to ensure protection against the Omicron variant

A new study from Israel has confirmed a third booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine provides “significant protection” against the Omicron variant of Covid.

In findings similar to those already reported by Pfizer itself, researchers at the Sheba Medical Centre and the Israeli Health Ministry concluded a third booster dose of the vaccine does enable the body to resist the mutated Omicron strain of coronavirus.

In the study, doctors looked at the blood of 20 people who had received the standard two doses of the vaccine five to six months ago and then compared this to the 20 people who had been boosted within the last month.

When the Omicron variant virus was introduced to the samples from just the double-jabbed people, their immune systems did not have any noticeable ability to attack the virus.

However, when the boosted samples were also tested with Omicron, there was a huge leap in immune response.

"People who received the second dose 5 or 6 months ago do not have any neutralization ability against the Omicron. While they do have some against the Delta (strain)," said Gili Regev-Yochay, director of the Infectious Diseases Unit at the Sheba Medical Centre, told reporters.

"The good news is that with the booster dose it increases about a hundred-fold. There is a significant protection of the booster dose.

However, she did add the booster dose was four times more effective against the Delta variant, than Omicron.

Pfizer’s lab tests earlier this month showed similar results, further underlining the need for a third booster jab to sustain immune protection.

However, another part of the body’s immune response – the T-cells generated by vaccination which also help fight off Covid – do not wane in the same way as antibodies and are still able to neutralise Omicron despite its many mutations.

That indicates “vaccinated individuals may still be protected against severe forms of the disease” after only two doses, Pfizer said.

As a result of the growing evidence of the need for a third dose, the British government has announced a target to offer every adult a booster jab by the end of the year.

In a televised address on Sunday night, the prime minister Boris Johnson warned that the UK was “facing an emergency in our battle with the new variant, Omicron”.

Mr Johnson said he was launching a “national mission” to get everyone jabbed, stating: “No one should be in any doubt: there is a tidal wave of Omicron coming.”

So far, 23 million people have received a third dose, equating to 40 per cent of the population aged 12 and over.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in