Omicron: UKHSA finds boosters provide 95% protection against death

For Moderna, effectiveness against hospitalization was 90-95% up to 9 weeks after the booster.

A health worker is seen preparing to administer the a third COVID-19 booster shot (illustrative). (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
A health worker is seen preparing to administer the a third COVID-19 booster shot (illustrative).
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

COVID-19 boosters increase protection against death from the Omicron variant to 95% in people aged 50 or over, the UK Health Security Agency said on Thursday.

The UKHSA said that around six months after a second dose of any of the COVID-19 vaccines, protection against death with Omicron was around 60% in those aged 50 and over. However, this increased to around 95% two weeks after receiving a booster vaccine dose.

UKHSA added that data continued to show high levels of protection against hospitalization from the booster. Effectiveness against hospitalization was around 90% for the Pfizer-BioNTech shot , dropping to 75% 10-14 weeks after the booster.

For Moderna, effectiveness against hospitalization was 90-95% up to 9 weeks after the booster.

"The evidence is clear – the vaccine helps to protect us all against the effects of COVID-19 and the booster is offering high levels of protection from hospitalization and death in the most vulnerable members of our society," said Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at UKHSA.

A Clalit health worker fills a syringe with the COVID-19 vaccine at Cinema City in Jerusalem. (credit: CLALIT HEALTH SERVICES)A Clalit health worker fills a syringe with the COVID-19 vaccine at Cinema City in Jerusalem. (credit: CLALIT HEALTH SERVICES)

The UKHSA also issued an initial analysis of vaccine effectiveness against the Omicron sublineage called BA.2, which is growing in Britain and Denmark, finding a similar level of protection against symptomatic disease.

"After two doses effectiveness was 9% and 13% respectively for BA.1 and BA.2, after 25+ weeks," the UKHSA said. "This increased to 63% for BA.1 and 70% for BA.2 from two weeks following a booster vaccine."