According to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the third booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine provides 70-75 percent protection against symptomatic infection from the Omicron variant.
According to the agency’s most recent technical briefing, two doses of both the Oxford/AstraZeneca – Covishield in India – and Pfizer/BioNtech vaccines provide “much lower levels” of protection against symptomatic infection than the currently dominant Delta variant of Covid-19.
According to an analysis of data from 581 Omicron cases, a third top-up dose appears to boost immunity against the new variant.
“If current trends continue, the UK is expected to surpass one million infections by the end of this month,” the UKHSA said.
“Preliminary data showed that effectiveness against the new variant appears to increase significantly in the early period following a booster dose, providing around 70-75 percent protection against symptomatic infection,” according to the researchers. “All estimates are subject to significant uncertainty and are subject to change due to the early nature of the findings,” it said.
Vaccines, according to the experts, are still likely to provide adequate protection against severe Covid, which necessitates hospitalisation.
“These early estimates should be treated with caution,” Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at the UKHSA, said. “But they indicate that a few months after the second jab, there is a greater risk of catching the Omicron variant compared to the Delta strain.”
“We expect the vaccines to provide better protection against Covid-19’s serious complications, so if you haven’t yet received your first two doses, please schedule an appointment as soon as possible.”
She emphasised that working from home whenever possible, wearing masks in crowded or enclosed spaces, washing your hands regularly, and isolating and getting tested if you feel unwell are all critical steps in reducing Covid-19’s impact.
The scientific report comes as the UK recorded another day of high daily infections on Friday, with 58,194 cases.