I am sure everyone watched the Sunday morning news shows this week. Statements were made by government representatives about the pandemic extending through 2022 and one of the reasons given was that new virus variants spreading through the world would required new “booster” vaccines.
I was actually shocked by several of these statements as just this past week there was new data that definitively proves this is not the case. Remarkably, one of these studies was from a federally funded laboratory and it directly contradicts the idea that at least one of the current vaccines needed a “booster dose for the know SARS-CoV-2 viruses.
The data comes from several new investigations that have shown the CURRENT Pfizer coronavirus RNA vaccine is fully protective against all the known variant coronaviruses. This includes the South African variant that had been suggested to be resistant to the current vaccines.
A study from Oxford University has now shown that even with one dose of the vaccine there is protective immunity to variant viruses. The investigators obtained blood from people immunized with the Pfizer vaccine. They found that among those who’d received a single dose of vaccine, their blood antibodies (proteins) demonstrated moderate efficacy against the original COVID-19 virus, limited efficacy against the U.K. variant, and virtually none against the South African one.
This was they type of data that has suggested the current vaccine might not be adequate for variants. However, the studies also looked at T cells that protect against the virus and these cells in these samples produced a strong protective response against all three strains.
This data means is that one dose of the Pfizer vaccine will not reliably protect you from being infected with the new COVID variants, but it will likely prevent you from having severe COVID-19 illness, as your immune cells will be primed to defect an infection by SARS-CoV-2 viruses.
Meanwhile, the investigators also showed that 90 percent of those who had received the recommended two-dose regimen of the Pfizer vaccine neutralized all of the variants. This mean that in all cases the vaccine protected individuals from even mild COVID-19 illness, no matter the strain.
Studies conducted by the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston documented that while prior infection did not protect against the variants, the Pfizer vaccine did provide protection. This protection was robust and neutralized all variants of the COVID-19 causing viruses. So until new variant as emerge, the current vaccines should finish the pandemic.
So while it may take longer than we would like to vaccinated everyone, once we do everyone should be protected against all forms of COVID-19.