I have seen a few comments about the need for COVID-19 vaccine boosters before and after the appearance of the new Omicron variant. Of course, anti-vaxxers use this as a reason to deny the effectiveness of the vaccine. However, I’ve even seen pro-vaxxers misunderstand why boosters are needed.
Today, Pfizer announced that its preliminary studies showed that individuals who have received boosters produce about 25X more neutralizing antibodies against the Omicron variant than those who received the COVID-19 vaccine alone. This is awesome news with the caveat that this has not been peer-reviewed or published, it is just a report from Pfizer itself. In the hierarchy of vaccine research, it is pretty low until it is published in a medical journal.
I’m going to try to explain the reasoning behind the need for COVID-19 vaccine boosters against the Omicron variant. I hope it provides some science-based facts about boosters so that it might help you in discussions about the vaccine and new variant. I’m dividing my explanation into three broad areas, with the intent to make the science as clear as I can.
This article about COVID-19 vaccine essentials was written by Dr. Frederik Lermyte, Ph.D. (Twitter) Dr. Lermyte is an assistant professor in the chemistry department at the Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany). He is interested in all things science, although he focuses on understanding the structure and chemistry of proteins, especially those relevant for human health and disease.
Disclaimer: While I’ve tried to make this discussion about COVID-19 vaccine essentials as accurate as possible for something meant for a general audience, one or two mistakes might have crept in. I’m obviously also simplifying some things here for brevity. Also, all of this is only my opinion, and obviously not medical advice.
Someone reached out to me a while ago through Twitter as they had an appointment to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and were feeling anxious. I explained some vaccine essentials to them as a series of direct messages.
I’m adapting and sharing this article on COVID-19 vaccine essentials now (with permission from the person who originally reached out to me) in case it’s still useful to anyone. I actually thought it was all fairly well known by now, but I’ve been hearing more nonsense about these vaccines again lately, so perhaps this is still useful after all.