The Omicron variant of coronavirus compromises the effects of two-dose mRNA vaccine-induced antibodies and reduces the overall protection, according to Chief Medical Advisor to the President Dr. Anthony Fauci.
However, clinical studies indicate that booster doses reconstitute the antibody titers and enhance the vaccine protection against Omicron, he said at a press briefing by White House COVID-?19 Response Team Wednesday.
Dr. Fauci said that since the booster vaccine regimens work against Omicron, there is no need for a variant-specific booster at this point.
He said that although the new variant reduces protection, the two-dose series still provides considerable protection against severe disease.
Dr. Fauci said that it has been reported in multiple studies that the effectiveness of a two-dose Pfizer vaccine against the Omicron variant is about 33 percent, down from 80 percent to the pre-Omicron era.
“The message remains clear: If you are unvaccinated, get vaccinated. And particularly in the arena of Omicron, if you are fully vaccinated, get your booster shot,” he told reporters.
Speaking in the press conference, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said that the latest data from CDC shows that an unvaccinated individual is 8 times more likely to be hospitalized due to Covid and 14 times more likely to die from the infection compared to a fully vaccinated individual.
He said that the U.S. vaccination program has already prevented 10.3 million hospitalizations and saved 1.1 million lives.
Sixty percent of all eligible seniors, including about 60 percent of eligible long-term care residents — those most vulnerable — are now boosted, he told reporters.
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at least 36 states in the U.S. and more than 75 countries have reported confirmed cases caused by the Omicron variant.
With 143417 additional cases of infection reported on Wednesday, the total number of people infected with the pandemic in the U.S. has risen to 50,374,552.
Daily coronavirus infections climbed by a whopping 40 percent and Covid fatalities by 34 percent in two weeks, the New York Times reports.
The current seven-day daily average of cases is about 117,900 cases per day. And the seven-day average of daily deaths is about 1,100 per day.
Covid hospitalizations are up 21 percent from a fortnight ago. 68,079 people are currently hospitalized due to the viral infection.
The seven-day average of hospital admissions is about 7,800 per day.
40,343,561 people in the country have recovered from the disease.
As per the latest data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 202,845,886 Americans, or 61.1 percent of the eligible population, have been administered both doses of Covid vaccine so far. This includes 87.3 percent of people above 65.
Booster shots are being administered at a faster rate. More than 56 million Americans, or 27.6 percent of the eligible population, have already received a booster dose that is recommended to provide additional protection.
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