In a new study from the Weizmann Institute of Science, researchers found among Israeli adults aged 60 years and older, those receiving a third booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine have much lower risks of COVID-19 and severe illness than people who only receiving the two original vaccine doses.
They compared the rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases and the rate of severe illness (July 30 through Aug. 31, 2021) between those who had received a booster injection at least 12 days earlier (booster group) and those who had not received a booster injection (nonbooster group).
The analysis included 1,137,804 people ages 60 years and older who had been fully vaccinated at least five months earlier.
The team found that ≥12 days after the booster dose, the rate of confirmed infection was lower in the booster group than in the nonbooster group by a factor of 11.3.
Similarly, the rate of severe illness was lower by a factor of 19.5. Compared with the rate of infection four to six days after the booster, the rate of confirmed infection ≥12 days after vaccination was lower by a factor of 5.4.
These findings give clear indications of the effectiveness of a booster dose even against the currently dominant delta variant.
The team says future studies will help determine the long-term effectiveness of the booster dose against current and emerging variants.
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The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine. One author of the study is Yinon M. Bar‑On.
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