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Researchers published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) have found infection or vaccination with the omicron variant of COVID-19 do little or nothing to protect against future infections.
According to the study’s findings, health care workers who were infected with the alpha variant of COVID-19 produced a less powerful antibody response to the omicron variant. In fact, infected patients from the beginning of the pandemic had zero immune boosting against omicron.
“People infected with the omicron variant show poor immunity boosting against future COVID-19 infection, researchers have found,” the BMJ wrote in a report on the efficacy of vaccine boosters.
The report continued, “This may explain why breakthrough and repeat infections have been a common feature of the omicron wave of the pandemic, even among people who have been triple vaccinated.”
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Danny Altman, a coauthor of the study from Imperial College London, said the omicron variant is particularly difficult to immunize against.
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“The research team analyzed blood samples from 731 U.K. health care workers who received three doses of mRNA vaccine and had different SARS-CoV-2 infection histories, to investigate antibody, T cell, and B cell immunity against omicron,” the BMJ reported.
The team’s research showed that infection or vaccination does not provide sufficient protection against contracting the disease in the future.
“Getting infected with omicron does not provide a potent boost to immunity against reinfection with omicron in the future. Previous SARS-CoV-2 infection impacts on the ability to boost immunity against subsequent SARS-CoV-2 infection through a process called ‘immune imprinting,’ and this may apply to subvariants of omicron including BA.4 and BA.5,” said lead author Rosemary Boyton.
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More than 82 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have reportedly gone to waste since the beginning of the pandemic, according to media reports.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shared the data, which indicates that just over 11% of doses the federal government distributed between December 2020 through mid-May were discarded, with NBC News.
That’s nearly 20 million more doses wasted than the 65 million The Associated Press reported wasted in February.
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The vaccines come in a vial and have a short shelf life. Once opened, they have to be used fairly quickly before they have to be thrown away.
Nationwide, more than 751 million doses have been distributed and 221.5 million people have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. However, less than half of all those fully vaccinated have received their first booster shot.