Pfizer-BioNTech’s new bivalent Covid-19 vaccine—which targets the original strain and some Omicron subvariants—provides more protection against the virus and its omicron variants than its initial vaccine, according to a study released Friday, as over 35 million people in the U.S. have since received the updated booster.
A booster dose of the Omicron BA.4- and BA.5-adapted Covid-19 vaccine was 11 times more effective against the BA.4.6 subvariant, nearly seven times more effective against the BA.2.75.2 subvariant, nine times as effective against the BQ.1.1 subvariant and almost five times more effective against the XBB.1 subvariant than the original vaccine.
The results complemented earlier data from Pfizer suggesting the new shot is 13 times more effective against the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants—the most common versions of the omicron variant—in people over the age of 55.
The new booster was recently approved by the FDA for emergency use in children aged 5 or older.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 35 million people aged 5 and up—or 11.3% of the U.S. population—have received an updated bivalent booster dose.
“The Covid-19 vaccines, including boosters, continue to save countless lives and prevent the most serious outcomes—hospitalization and death—of Covid-19,” FDA Commissioner Robert Califf said in the FDA’s approval of the bivalent vaccine, according to a release.
Weekly cases of Covid-19 continue to decrease, according to the CDC, which reported a seven-day average of 39,000 new cases as of Nov. 2. The rate at which vaccines have been administered has also declined—despite 68.5% of the U.S. receiving a full vaccination—as 49.1% of booster-eligible people have yet to receive one.
Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna bivalent Covid-19 vaccines have been authorized for use as a single booster dose in people over the ages of 5 and 6, respectively. The bivalent vaccine, which is referred to by the FDA as an “updated” vaccine, is a combination of an original virus strain with a component of an omicron variant to combat all possible versions of the virus. Pfizer has noted some possible symptoms as a result of the bivalent vaccine, including possible joint pain, fatigue and other allergic reactions.
When Should You Get The New Bivalent Covid-19 Vaccine Booster? (Forbes)
Pifzer-BioNTech Covid Vaccine Is 73% Effective In Young Children, Study Finds (Forbes)
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