Pfizer Says Three Doses Needed For Max Protection From Omicron Variant

(Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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Pfizer announced Wednesday that it will take three doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, not two, to confer maximum protection against the Omicron variant of the virus.

A third booster dose of the shot gives similar levels of protection against Omicron as the original two-dose regimen did against earlier strains, the company said in a release. The findings are based on preliminary laboratory tests.

“Although two doses of the vaccine may still offer protection against severe disease caused by the Omicron strain, it’s clear from these preliminary data that protection is improved with a third dose of our vaccine,” said CEO Albert Bourla. “Ensuring as many people as possible are fully vaccinated with the first two dose series and a booster remains the best course of action to prevent the spread of COVID-19.” (RELATED: POLL: Americans Aren’t Cowering In Fear Of Omicron Variant)

Meanwhile, researchers at the Africa Health Research Institute in Durban, South Africa, found that the highest levels of protection are found in individuals who are both fully vaccinated and have recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection. Individuals who were vaccinated after prior infection tended to produce a strong immune response against Omicron, while individuals without natural antibodies had less protection.