For those over 65, getting a booster helps cover your bases to make sure you are extra-, extra-protected, because the consequences are higher. — Eli Rosenberg, the deputy director for science in the Office of Public Health at the New York State Department of Health
For those over 65, getting a booster helps cover your bases to make sure you are extra-, extra-protected, because the consequences are higher. — Eli Rosenberg, the deputy director for science in the Office of Public Health at the New York State Department of Health

It’s easy with all the discussion about boosters to lose that really important message that the vaccines are still working. Going from an unvaccinated to a vaccinated person is still the critical step. — Eli Rosenberg, the deputy director for science in the Office of Public Health at the New York State Department of Health
It’s easy with all the discussion about boosters to lose that really important message that the vaccines are still working. Going from an unvaccinated to a vaccinated person is still the critical step. — Eli Rosenberg, the deputy director for science in the Office of Public Health at the New York State Department of Health

What We Know So Far About Waning Vaccine Effectiveness
As tens of millions who are eligible in the United States consider signing up for a Covid-19 booster shot, a growing body of early global research shows that the vaccines authorized in the United States remain highly protective against the disease’s worst outcomes over time, with some exceptions among older people and those with weakened immune systems.

But while the vaccines’ effectiveness against severe disease and hospitalization has mostly held steady, even through the summer surge of the highly transmissible Delta variant, a number of published studies show that their protection against infection, with or without symptoms, has fallen.

Public health experts say this decline does not mean that the vaccines are not working.

In fact, many studies show that the vaccines remain more than 50 percent effective at preventing infection, the level that all Covid vaccines had to meet or exceed to be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration back in 2020. But the significance of these declines in effectiveness — and whether they suggest all adults should be eligible for a booster shot — is still up for debate.

... “The main objective of the Covid vaccine is to prevent severe disease and death, and they are still doing a good job at that,” said Melissa Higdon, a faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who leads a project to compile research on Covid vaccine performance.

But the decline in protection against infection will have an impact, she added.

“With true declines in vaccine effectiveness, we’ll likely see more cases overall,” said Ms. Higdon.

... There has been more agreement among experts about the need to offer extra protection to adults over 65. The declines observed in vaccine effectiveness for this age group may have greater repercussions, since older people face a higher risk of hospitalization from Covid.

“For those over 65, getting a booster helps cover your bases to make sure you are extra-, extra-protected, because the consequences are higher,” said Eli Rosenberg, the deputy director for science in the Office of Public Health at the New York State Department of Health, who has studied Covid vaccine effectiveness.

Seniors are also most likely to be affected by waning vaccine immunity now, since they were among the first to be vaccinated in the U.S. About 71 percent of people aged 65 and older — about 36 million people — completed their initial vaccination series more than six months ago. So far, about 31 percent have received a booster shot.


... But experts worry that a national focus on boosters will detract from what should be the country’s most important goal.

“It’s easy with all the discussion about boosters to lose that really important message that the vaccines are still working,” said Dr. Rosenberg. “Going from an unvaccinated to a vaccinated person is still the critical step.”
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/11/11/science/vaccine-waning-immunity.html