Government scientists compared 581 cases of Omicron in Britain with 56,000 of Delta to give preliminary estimates of how well vaccines protect against a variant with mutations that help it evade the body’s immune response.
They found that the mostly elderly people who had two doses of AstraZeneca several months ago had almost no protection against Omicron infection, and two Pfizer doses offered little more than 30 per cent.
But a third dose, if using Pfizer, can take protection levels back up to 71 per cent in those who had AstraZeneca the first time around and 76 per cent for those who had Pfizer.
In the UK, of the double vaccinated adults, 52% are with Astrazenica, 45% with Pfizer, and 3% with Moderna.
They warned, however, that because the strain can slip past the immune systems of people with waning protection, it is on track to become dominant in days.
The agency estimates that the variant is double every two to three days and that Omicron case numbers will exceed one million by the end of the month.
The researchers were unable to determine how much protection the vaccines offered against serious illness, hospitalisations and deaths due to the small number of Omicron cases in the UK and the lag between infection and severe outcomes.
“Vaccines”? No protection after just four months. You have to be kidding.