New studies find Omicron COVID boosters no better than original, contradicting feds’ messaging

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ess than two months after the FDA used mouse datato give emergency use authorization to bivalent COVID-19 boosters, the real-world performance of the shots that target the ancestral strain and Omicron BA.4/5 subvariants is undermining the feds’ one-size-fits-all messaging.

New preprint studies by researchers at Columbia University and Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center, not yet peer-reviewed, found that the bivalents showed no meaningful improvement over the original monovalent boosters that targeted the Wuhan strain alone.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky got infected by COVID this past weekend, just a month after taking her bivalent booster. The new boosters are “formulated to better protect against” newer variants, she said when recommending them in September.

“Ironically, this is probably the peak vaccine efficacy (peak Ab),” University of California San Francisco epidemiologist Vinay Prasad wrote in his newsletter Wednesday, referring to Walensky’s ill-timed breakthrough.

“Their entire vaccine policy seems to be interested in giving Pfizer and Moderna a perpetual market share for a yearly vaccine,” he said. “But seems to have no interest in generating credible randomized control trial evidence to inform the public.”



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