British research: Booster protects the elderly for at least three months

Three months after their booster vaccination, the elderly remain well protected against hospitalization in the event of infection with the omikron variant. This is reported by the British health service UKHSA based on its own research. People over 65 remain 88 percent protected.

Flickr / Jens-Olaf Walter

However, that percentage decreases after three months after full vaccination: then the protection against serious disease is still about 70 percent, after six months it is only 50 percent. Protection against mild symptoms decreased by 30 percent after three months.

Encouraging

British Vaccination Committee chairman Wei Shen Lim calls the results “encouraging” and reiterates the importance of boosters. According to the committee, it is now not necessary to give people a second booster, something that Israel already offers risk groups. For the time being, the British priority is to vaccinate with the first booster and to vaccinate unvaccinated people.

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The UKHSA analyzed more than 600,000 confirmed and suspected cases of the Omicron variant as of December 29 in England, the analysis found that a single vaccine dose reduced the risk of hospital treatment by 52 percent. A second dose increased protection to 72 percent, although that protection decreased to 52 percent after 25 weeks. Two weeks after the third dose, the protection against hospitalization had increased to 88 percent.

Promising

A second study, conducted in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, confirmed that the risk of ending up in the emergency room or hospital with an omicron infection was about half that of the older Delta variant. UKHSA medical advisor Susan Hopkins called the data “consistent with the encouraging signs we’ve already seen.”

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She warned that the increased transmissibility of omicron and the increasing cases in the population aged 60 and over in England means ‘it remains very likely that there will be significant pressure on the NHS in the coming weeks’.

According to British Health Secretary Sajid Javid, these are “even more promising data that underscores the importance of vaccines. They save lives and prevent serious illness. This analysis shows that you are up to eight times more likely to end up in hospital as a result of Covid-19 if you are not vaccinated.”

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