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Vaccine maker, Pfizer, says three doses can sufficiently prevent COVID-19 Omicron variant



US drugmaker, Pfizer has said that its preliminary lab studies showed that three doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine can provide sufficient protection against the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Pfizer alongside BioNTech in a statement on Wednesday said samples from people who had two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine showed on average, a more than 25-fold reduction in the neutralization ability against the Omicron variant than the earlier virus.

According to the companies, the indication implies that two doses of the BNT162b2 COVID-19 vaccine may not be sufficient to protect against infection with the Omicron variant.

The companies said two doses may still provide protection against the disease but a third dose gives very good protection against the Omicron variant.

According to the statement, Pfizer Chairman and CEO, Albert Bourla, said, “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 the third dose of our vaccine.

“Ensuring as many people as possible are fully vaccinated with the first two doses series and a booster remains the best course of action to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

Read also: Nigeria lacks capacity to produce COVID-19 vaccines —Pfizer

Meanwhile, the companies noted that initial lab studies used serum from blood of individuals who received two or three doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

The sera was collected from subjects three weeks after their second dose, or one month after a third dose.

Both Pfizer and BioNTech announced that they are continuing to develop a variant-specific vaccine for Omicron, saying it would be available by March next year, if the need arises.

However, this comes after researchers in South Africa on Tuesday released a preprint study that showed the Omicron Coronavirus variant partly escapes the protection offered by the Pfizer vaccine.

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