How high is the protection against Omikron after a booster vaccination with Biontech or Moderna? Data from the UK health authority shed some light.
The government worries that the highly contagious virus variant Omikron 1.1.529 * could soon trigger a 5th corona wave in Germany. The mutation is spreading rapidly: a total of 13,129 Omicron infections (as of December 29, 2021) have already been identified in Germany, 1,274 Omicron cases of them in Baden-Württemberg *, as reported by * echo24.de. In the fight against the corona pandemic, in addition to strict measures * such as contact restrictions, vaccinations are particularly important.
Since the vaccination protection of Biontech, Moderna and AstraZeneca decreases drastically over time, the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) now recommends booster vaccinations after three months *. Initial studies have shown that the vaccines approved in the EU do not provide optimal protection against the new virus variant. Therefore, the vaccines should be adapted to Omikron. However, it will take some time until the corona vaccines are adapted. How well do booster vaccinations with Biontech and Moderna currently protect?
Booster vaccination: How well do booster vaccinations protect against Omikron?
In general, booster vaccinations are currently only carried out in Germany with Biontech or Moderna. The mRNA vaccines from the manufacturers Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna are more effective than the vector vaccines AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson – at least in terms of protection against the original variant of the coronavirus. Novavax’s newly approved corona vaccine is said to be “better than vector vaccines for boosting”.
But the new virus variant could make vector vaccines more popular. A new study on the effectiveness of AstraZeneca against Omikron surprised: The British manufacturer AstraZeneca and researchers from Oxford recently announced that laboratory studies have shown that a third vaccination with “Vaxzevria” increases the vaccinated person’s antibody protection against Omikron to the level of two doses. However, the study has not yet been independently reviewed.
Booster vaccination: Biontech and Moderna protect against Omikron so well
But how does a booster vaccination with Biontech or Moderna affect the vaccination protection against Omikron? The British health security authority has published an assessment of the effectiveness of mRNA vaccines as boosters in the current vaccination report (published on December 23, 2021). The data from the British authority is based on 147,597 Corona cases of the Delta variant and 68,489 Omicron cases.
As bild.de reports, cross-vaccination of Biontech and Moderna has proven to be the most effective. In order to obtain the highest protection against the Omikron variant, one dose of Moderna should be administered as a booster vaccination after two doses of Biontech. Just one week after the booster with Moderna, the protection against symptomatic illness with Omikron increases to around 70 percent. The vaccination protection should then remain at this high level for at least three months.
In the case of a booster vaccination with Biontech after a basic immunization (two vaccinations) with Biontech, vaccination protection of around 70 percent against Omikron is also given after about a week. The key difference to a booster vaccination with Moderna: The protection levels off significantly after three months.
Booster vaccination: Vaccination protection after Booster with Moderna highest
According to further study results, a booster vaccination with Moderna should offer the best protection even after a basic vaccination with AstraZeneca. In the case of a booster vaccination with Moderna after a basic vaccination with AstraZeneca, vaccination protection of around 60 percent results after one week, this decreases after three months and drops to 40 percent. The situation is similar with Biontech, here the vaccination protection against Omikron falls on average to only 35 percent after three months.
The British study does not reveal what effect a booster vaccination with Moderna after a primary vaccination with Johnson & Johnson or Moderna has on protection against Omikron. There is also a lack of data on how effective a booster vaccination with Biontech is after a basic vaccination with Moderna.
However, the study shows very clearly: A fourth corona vaccination generally seems to be necessary. Soon there could be even more information on the topic of booster vaccinations in general: Israel is currently carrying out a study on a fourth corona vaccination with Biontech *. And especially new Corona variants such as B.1.640.2 from France could make a fourth booster necessary, according to HEIDELBERG24 *.
WHO continues to rate the danger from Omikron as high
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the danger posed by the omicron variant of the coronavirus is still very high. The WHO announced this in its weekly situation report. According to previous observations, the variant spreads significantly faster than the delta variant did.
It is all the more important that vaccination protection is generally maintained and that people let themselves be boosted. Even if the current vaccines do not provide optimal protection against an infection with Omikron, the protection against a severe course is also high in the case of an illness with the virus variant. * echo24.de explains which side effects can occur with a booster vaccination with Biontech and Moderna. * echo24.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.
List of rubric lists: © Mirko Hannemann / dpa