Vaccine Booster Can Prevent Omicron Coronavirus Variant: Pfizer

GEORGIA — Getting a booster is the best way to protect against the omicron variant of the coronavirus, medical professionals say.

On Wednesday, Pfizer officials released the results of an initial lab study showing that its vaccine neutralizes the omicron variant after three doses.

“Although two doses of the vaccine may still offer protection against severe disease caused by the Omicron strain, it’s clear from these preliminary data that protection is improved with a third dose of our vaccine,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Wednesday in a statement. “Ensuring as many people as possible are fully vaccinated with the first two-dose series and a booster remains the best course of action to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

The study found that people who received two doses of the vaccine were still protected from the virus. But a third dose increased the level of protection, BioNTech founder and CEO Ugur Sahin said in a statement.

“Our preliminary, first dataset indicate that a third dose could still offer a sufficient level of protection from disease of any severity caused by the Omicron variant,” Sahin said.

The Pfizer findings are consistent with recommendations provided earlier this week by the Georgia Department of Public Health and by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In a statement last week regarding the discovery of the initial onset of the omicron variant, the CDC recommended vaccinations for everyone 5 years of age and older, and it encouraged a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose for those who are eligible.

The first case of the omicron variant in the United States was reported in California on last week, and was someone who had been vaccinated but had not gotten a booster shot. Omicron cases have since been confirmed in at last 21 states including Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Georgia.

Officials say a fully vaccinated woman who hadn't had the booster and was traveling to New Jersey after a two-day stay in Georgia began experiencing symptoms and tested positive, and an person living in Georgia contracted COVID-19 through the omicron variant.

Georgia’s health agency echoed the CDC recommendation.

“Vaccination and boosters help stop the spread of COVID and prevent the emergence of new variants,” DPH spokeswoman Nancy Nydam said in an email to Patch sent Monday. “Testing identifies cases and helps DPH mitigate potential outbreaks of infection. While we continue to learn about Omicron, COVID cases are beginning to increase in Georgia — and these cases are caused by the Delta variant.”

See Also: Has Flu Season Come To Georgia? How To Prevent Being Sick

This article originally appeared on the Atlanta Patch