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Moderna says its COVID-19 booster is effective against Omicron

Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 8:18 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Moderna said its COVID-19 booster appears to provide protection against the surging Omicron variant.

The drug maker said its 50-microgram booster dose increased antibody levels 37-fold.

But preliminary data from lab tests shows doubling the booster dose provided an even bigger increase in antibody levels.

Medical Director of Disease Control for Jefferson County, Dr. Wesley Willeford, said cases of COVID are rising, though it’s unclear if the Omicron variant is to blame.

So far, only one case of the Omicron variant has been reported in Alabama, but Dr. Willeford said it’s likely there are more cases.

Moderna’s CEO said the company’s findings about its booster shot are “reassuring” in the fight against COVID-19.

But it will be up to health officials to determine whether a larger booster is needed.

Still, many are wondering what all of this means for those who have only completed their initial vaccine series.

“For the people who just had two doses, they may not have quite as strong a protection as people who went ahead and had that booster dose. If a person is due for a booster dose, please go ahead and get that as soon as possible because I think that is what is going to see us through to be as protected as possible as we begin to deal with Omicron,” Dr. Willeford explained.

Dr. Willeford said keep in mind, we are still dealing with the Delta variant, and it’s unclear when or if the Omicron variant will become the dominant strain.

He’s concerned about cases of COVID spiking after the holidays and encourages everyone to get a vaccine as soon as possible and take other precautions to prevent the spread.

Moderna is planning to develop a booster shot specific to the Omicron variant and it’s hoping to start clinical trials for it early next year.

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