Vaccination protection was much weaker against Omicron, CDC data shows

Newly updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says some people should wait eight weeks between their first and second doses of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s coronavirus vaccines, instead of the three to four week intervals originally recommended.

The change was made at the CDCs on Tuesday website. It says an eight-week interval “may be optimal for some people ages 12 and older, especially men ages 12 to 39.” Noting the low risk of a rare heart disease in this population, the CDC said the risk can be reduced by increasing the time between doses.

It added that some studies in adolescents and adults also suggested that the maximum antibody response and vaccine effectiveness might increase with the longer interval between shots.

When vaccines became available last year, UK health officials lengthened the interval between doses to get vaccines to as many people as possible. A study published last summer found that the longer gap resulted in higher total antibody levels.

The shorter interval — three weeks for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and four weeks for the Moderna vaccine — is still recommended by the CDC for people age 65 and older, those with compromised immune systems, and others who are concerned about high prevalence in the community Community need a quick protection Risk of serious illness.

Federal health officials have said there’s a likely link between two coronavirus vaccines and an increased risk of a rare condition, myocarditis, mostly in men between the ages of 12 and 39. Most cases have been mild, and medical authorities have said the benefits of the shots outweigh the risks.

In men aged 18 to 39, the condition was reported in about 68 out of 1 million who received the second dose of Moderna and around 47 out of 1 million who received the second dose of Pfizer. reported the Associated Press.

William Schaffner, a vaccine expert at Vanderbilt University, told the AP that the CDC’s actions were sensible, saying that early in the pandemic, as the virus was spreading and people were dying, we “got the vaccine in their arms as soon as we could.” wanted to get”.

If those who are already vaccinated are concerned that the original schedule gave them less than maximum protection, they can seek a booster shot, he said.

“We have really, really good data suggesting that two doses plus the booster shot provide very strong protection against serious disease,” Schaffner said.

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