CDC: COVID-19 boosters offer added protection, even against newer subvariants

By Nicholas Gerbis
Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2023 - 4:03pm

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Center For Disease Control and Prevention

Despite recommendations by the CDC and the Arizona Department of Health Services, Arizonans — including many long-term care staff and residents — are largely skipping the COVID-19 bivalent booster.

But new CDC research shows the shot does provide extra protection, even against some of the latest variants.

Vaccines do not defend equally well against all the subvariants of a virus, and the omicron variant has an extensive family tree.

Concerned that bivalent boosters might not protect as well against the XBB and XBB.1.5 “kraken” omicron offshoots now dominating in the U.S., the CDC analyzed the latest year’s worth of data from the Increasing Community Access to Testing national pharmacy program.

They found the bivalent booster, which comprises components of original SARS-COV-2 and two other Omicron lineages, still offers added protection against symptomatic infection for at least three months.

That holds true across age groups, regardless of whether people previously received two, three or four vaccine doses.

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