Fauci says boosters work against Omicron, sees no need for variant-specific shot right now

Existing vaccine booster shots appear to protect against the Omicron variant, and as of now there’s no need to develop specialized shots to guard against it, U.S. health officials say.

Anthony Fauci, who serves as a medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said on a briefing Wednesday that studies so far show strong antibody responses from existing boosters, though protections against Omicron are weaker with just two doses.

“Our booster vaccine regimens work against Omicron. At this point, there is no need for a variant-specific booster” said Fauci, who also leads National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

The U.S. has been urging vaccination, and booster shots, to protect against Omicron as researchers await further data on its transmissibility, virulence and vaccine evasion. 

Pfizer Inc., its partner BioNTech SE and rival Moderna Inc. have already begun developing a booster shot customized for Omicron. Of 43 U.S. omicron infections analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four-fifths were in fully vaccinated people, although almost all the cases were relatively mild.

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