Coronavirus Briefing: Omicron vs. vaccines

5 months ago 126

And the coming Omicron wave.

Jonathan Wolfe

Dec. 15, 2021, 5:49 p.m. ET

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Daily reported coronavirus cases successful  the United States, seven-day average.
Credit...The New York Times

Since the find of Omicron, a large absorption has been connected however effectual vaccines are against the variant. Today we’re getting much answers. The results are mixed, but determination is origin for hope.

First, the atrocious news. Dr. Anthony Fauci shared preliminary information from his institute’s investigation of the Moderna vaccine that showed that 2 doses produced a negligible antibody effect against Omicron successful the laboratory.

However, successful a departure from the torrent of worrying information astir the variant, Fauci said that extortion accrued importantly aft a 3rd dose. He added that booster doses of some the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were apt to connection a important summation successful extortion against Omicron.

“Our booster vaccine regimens enactment against Omicron,” helium said, adding that “at this point, determination is nary request for a variant-specific booster.”

The preliminary information from Fauci is besides accordant with a survey from Britain, which showed that 2 shots of Pfizer’s vaccine were 40 percent effectual successful preventing symptomatic infections from Omicron, but that effectiveness roseate to 80 percent aft a 3rd shot.

The quality suggests that Omicron volition origin breakthrough infections successful afloat vaccinated radical who person not had their booster shots. The C.D.C. reported connected Wednesday that 27 percent of afloat vaccinated Americans person besides had booster shots.

We besides received immoderate encouraging findings astir immunity against Omicron from a World Health Organization gathering today. Scientists presented respective laboratory studies that suggest so-called T cells successful vaccinated radical tin enactment up a beardown defence against the variant, which could assistance forestall terrible disease, hospitalization and death.

While it’s becoming progressively wide that Omicron tin evade antibodies produced either by vaccination oregon by corruption with erstwhile variants, the caller probe suggests that T cells mightiness service arsenic an effectual backup erstwhile antibodies fail, preventing galore infections from turning into terrible disease.

Some scientists cautioned that the information comes from laboratory experiments. It volition instrumentality a fewer much weeks of examining existent infections successful radical earlier we cognize for definite however good T cells forestall terrible disease.


The C.D.C. is predicting that a question of infections caused by the Omicron variant could get successful the U.S. arsenic soon arsenic adjacent month, and warned of 2 imaginable outcomes — neither of them good.

The archetypal is simply a immense question of infections, of some Omicron and Delta, starting successful the adjacent fewer weeks. The 2nd anticipation is simply a smaller Omicron surge successful the spring. It was unclear which forecast was much likely.

In Europe, wherever reports of cases are doubling each 2 to 3 days, officials said that Omicron could go the ascendant variant by mid-January. “We are facing different Christmas successful pandemic mode,” said Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission. According to estimates this week, cases of the variant successful Denmark, which is akin to the U.S. successful presumption of vaccination rates and mean age, were doubling each 2 days.

The U.S. is already successful a precarious spot. Daily cases person plateaued astatine astir 120,000, and states successful the Northeast and the Midwest are struggling to incorporate surges. Hospitalizations are besides connected the rise.

More Omicron news:


For astir 2 years, the pandemic has been dividing families implicit issues similar societal distancing, mask-wearing, and vaccines. Now that the vacation play is present and families are gathering, galore issues that person been simmering are reaching a boiling point.

At 82, and surviving successful a four-generation household, I’m worried. A large gathering is planned for Christmas and nary 1 is talking astir getting a booster (I’m boosted). Also, nary of the children are vaccinated. I deliberation I should beryllium this 1 out, but conscionable however antisocial tin a idiosyncratic be? But, actually, aren’t they the ones being antisocial?

— Pauline M. Reynolds, Chula Vista, Calif.

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