Data show boosters may protect against omicron

Moderna said Monday that a booster dose of its COVID-19 vaccine should offer protection against the omicron variant. Lab tests showed the half-dose booster shot increased antibodies by 37-fold.

According to the company, a full-dose booster triggered an 83-fold jump in antibody levels. Most Moderna boosters are a half-dose, but many health officials recommend a full-dose third shot for people with weakened immune systems. 

The new test data is not yet peer-reviewed, but testing by the National Institutes of Health found a similar jump. Moderna and Pfizer are developing shots to better match the omicron variant in case they’re needed.

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The data came a day after former President Donald Trump encouraged a crowd of his supporters to not criticize the vaccines and said he had obtained a booster shot himself. 

What is the state of the pandemic? On Monday, New York City canceled its New Year’s Eve celebration. The state of New York also reinstated indoor mask mandates due to a surge in COVID-19 infections. New York currently has more new daily COVID-19 cases than at any point in the pandemic.

But while more people are getting sick, they are not become as ill as at the start of this year, when coronavirus hospitalizations in the state were more than double what they are now. While many East Coast states are seeing an increase in new COVID-19 cases, numbers in the rest of the country were still trending downward as of Monday, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

On Monday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that omicron accounted for 73 percent of new infections last week. 

—With reporting from Mainstreet Daily News

This story originally appeared in WORLD. © 2021, reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

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