Updated COVID-19 boosters cut risk of illness by about half

Virus Outbreak Vaccine
Posted at 3:11 PM, Jan 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-26 17:50:05-05

According to a new CDC study, nearly 30,000 COVID test results were analyzed between December 1 and January 13. Among those tests, roughly 47% were positive for the virus. And here’s what the researchers found - people who had not had a vaccine dose in over a year tested positive more often when compared to those who had got a bivalent shot.

Breaking the data down by age group, adults aged 18 and 49 had the highest protection. The bivalent boosters were 52% effective against symptomatic infection caused by the BA.5 subvariant. And 49% effective against Omicron’s new XBB subvariant.

For people aged 50 to 64, the bivalent boosters were 43% effective against symptomatic infection caused by the BA.5 subvariant. And 40% effective against the new XBB subvariant.

For seniors 65 and older, the bivalent shots provided 37% protection against symptomatic infection caused by the BA.5 subvariant. And 43% protection against the new XBB subvariant.

Overall, this is really good news, and it’s comparable to the flu shot, which typically reduces the risk of influenza by 40 to 60%.

It does not matter if you received Pfizer or Moderna’s updated booster. The effectiveness found in the CDC’s study was seen for both Pfizer and Moderna’s bivalent booster.

As for how long protection lasts, on the plus side, there hasn’t been much evidence of the bivalent shot waning after two to three months. On the flip side, it’s still a bit early to really know. And we did see protection against symptomatic infection wane over time in the previous vaccines.

But I don’t want people to get hung up on vaccines preventing infection. Because the main thing we want vaccines to do is to keep people from becoming severely sick, getting hospitalized, and dying. The good news is that protection against severe illness lasted longer in the monovalent shots, and we expect the same for the bivalent shots.

The bottom line is that the updated vaccines are protecting people against the latest COVID-19 variants based on this new data. Unfortunately, only 15% of Americans have got them. In my opinion, the bivalent shots are worth getting, and I encourage everyone to roll up their sleeves if they’re eligible.

Everyone knows what fear feels like. We all experience it at some point in life. But what happens when fear starts impacting you every day? It can be a challenging obstacle both emotionally and physically. In this enlightening episode, Dr. Nandi and special guest Dr. Rick Hanson, Neuropsychologist & author of Hardwiring Happiness, discuss the root of fear and how it can be overcome.  Also, a woman shares how her anxiety attacks disrupted her life so badly that she feared dying.  Plus, the publisher of Savoy Publishing describes how she bravely stopped her alcoholic father from shooting her mother, which led to many fears that she eventually learned to overcome. Tune in this Sunday, January 29th at 1:30 AM **please note this is technically Monday as it's after midnight.