Why do we need COVID vaccine boosters for the Omicron variant?

COVID-19 vaccine boosters omicron

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 This is awesome news with the caveat that this has not been peer-reviewed or published, it is just a report from Pfizer itself.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.

And just to remind everyone, I am fully boosted with the Moderna vaccine.

Continue reading “Why do we need COVID vaccine boosters for the Omicron variant?”

Infant T cells don’t remember pathogens–causes weaker immunity

active-immunityIf you hang out in various vaccine discussions, you will hear all kinds of odd, unscientific ideas about the immune system of infants. One of the major issues is a substantial oversimplification of the immune system (of adults and infants), mostly thinking it’s one “thing,” ignoring the complex physiology of the immune system which is an almost infinite number of interactions between cells, proteins and factors, organs, blood, fluids, and other physiological systems.

Generally, the popular assumption is that the infant immune system is weak, making those children more prone to viral or bacterial infections. The antivaccine crowd uses this belief to either state that vaccines won’t work or might actually harm the immune system, along with some overstated magical properties of human breast milk to prevent infection.

But according to a new study, led by Dr. Brian Rudd of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Cornell University, published in the Journal of Immunology, the immune system of newborns and infants is actually stronger than an adult’s immune system. Unfortunately, it has a short “memory.” Continue reading “Infant T cells don’t remember pathogens–causes weaker immunity”