Effect of mRNA vaccines vs omicron halved after 3 months: expert

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 18 2022 01:42 PM | Updated as of May 18 2022 02:30 PM

Medical staff of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City prepares the COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to be administered to hospital workers on Nov. 17, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File 
Medical staff of the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City prepares the COVID-19 vaccine booster shots to be administered to hospital workers on Nov. 17, 2021. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/File 

 MANILA — The efficacy of messenger RNA booster shots such as Pfizer and Moderna against the omicron COVID-19 variant wanes to 50 percent after 3 months, the head of government's vaccine expert panel said Wednesday.

"Nakita rin sa pag-aaral abroad na after the first booster or 3rd dose, nagwi-wane din ang immunity lalo na sa omicron variant at subvariants," said Dr. Nina Gloriani. 

"Napakaimportante yan lalo na sa hindi pa nababakunahan. Dun sa nabakunahan, kulang ang proteksyon ng 2 beses," she said in a televised press briefing.

(Studies abroad also found that after the first booster or 3rd dose, immunity wanes especially against the omicron variant and subvariants. That's extremely important, especially for those who are not yet vaccinated. For thos who are vaccinated, protection from 2 doses is not enough.) 

The Philippines has detected 17 cases of the highly transmissible BA.2.12.1, a sub-variant of the dominant BA.2. 

Watch more News on iWantTFC

 Video courtesy of PTV

Gloriani said the bivalent vaccine being developed by Moderna, which contains the original Wuhan strain and the beta variant, shows promise against the delta and omicron variants. 

"Pag binigay as a booster, nag-iincrease ng 2 to 2.5 times ang neutralizing antibodies nung nabigyan kumpara kung ang binigay mo ang original strain," she said.

(When given as a booster, it increases neutralizing antibodies 2 to 2.5 times compared with a booster containing the original strain.)

"Maganda rin ang reaksyon niya sa ibang variant--delta and omicron-- kasi actually merong common mutations yang mga yan."

(It also has good reaction against other variants--delta and omicron--because these have common mutations.)

As of Monday, the Philippines has fully vaccinated 68.6 million or 76.3 percent of the eligible 90 million population, according to the Department of Health. Of those with primary doses, 13.6 million have received their booster shots while 40 million more are eligible.