As recently as last week, many public health experts were fiercely opposed to the Biden administration’s campaign to roll out booster shots of the coronavirus vaccines to all American adults. There was little scientific evidence to support extra doses for most people, the researchers said.
The Omicron variant has changed all that.
Scientists do not yet know with any certainty whether the virus is easier to spread or less vulnerable to the body’s immune response. But with dozens of new mutations, the variant seems likely to evade the protection from vaccines to some significant degree.
Booster shots clearly raise antibody levels, strengthening the body’s defenses against infection, and may help offset whatever advantages Omicron has gained through evolution.
Many of the experts who were opposed to boosters now believe that the shots may offer the best defense against the new variant. The extra doses may slow the spread, at least, buying time for vaccine makers to develop an Omicron-specific formulation, if needed.
I’ve been consistent: Since Jan-Feb I’ve said the mRNA was a 3-dose vaccine. When you gave those first two doses just 3-4 weeks apart, you practically ensured immunity would wane and require a booster. That’s true of most vaccines we administer. https://t.co/woCCJK6nfm
— Prof Peter Hotez MD PhD (@PeterHotez) December 2, 2021