NEW data proves how critical Covid vaccine boosters are amid the spread of Omicron across the world.
A study has shown that people who had top-up doses were 90 per cent less likely to die of the virus compared to those who had two shots.
In both the triple and double-jabbed, deaths would have been much lower than the unvaccinated.
The Sun's Jab's Army has called upon all Brits to come forward and have their life-saving shot, with volunteers also needed to drive the rollout.
It is the crucial way to “save Christmas” from devastating restrictions, while keeping loved ones as safe as possible.
For the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Israeli researchers studied almost 850,000 people over the age of 50.
All had been given two doses of Pfizer at least five months earlier.
But only 90 per cent had received a booster shot. The Pfizer jab is also used for top-ups in the UK.
Covid deaths were compared between the two groups.
The authors wrote: “Participants who received a booster at least 5 months after a second dose of BNT162b2 [Pfizer] had 90 per cent lower mortality due to Covid-19 than participants who did not receive a booster.”
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Some 65 deaths occured in the 758,118 people who had three vaccine doses.
Of 85,090 people without the booster, 137 died of Covid.
The team cautioned that the study period was short (54 days), and so it’s not clear how boosters will elevate protection beyond that point.
There is uncertainty about how long the effect of boosters lasts, although studies show immunity from two doses starts waning at three months.
It is expected that in the future, Covid jabs will become annual to keep protection high.
Another recent study of almost 4.7 million Israeli people over the age of 16 showed similarly staggering real-world results.
Published in the same journal, it showed that the Covid death rate was almost 15 times lower in people over 60 who had been given a booster shot 12 days earlier.
Even in the over 60s who had received the booster shot seven days before, deaths were five times lower.
It takes up to 14 days for the immune system to respond to the vaccine dose and fire up antibodies.
It comes amid a booster drive in the UK, which is fighting to slow the spread of the Omicron variant before Christmas.
It is expected the variant will weaken the effect of vaccines to some extent, but scientists are still figuring out how much.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said at yesterday’s Downing Street briefing: “The single biggest thing that every one of us can do is to get our jabs and, crucially, to get that booster as soon as our turn arrives.
“Let’s do everything we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones this winter, and reduce the pressures on our NHS.”
But while boosters were at the centre of the Government’s “Plan A” to tackle Covid, more measures are being put in place to keep on top of Omicron.
Last night the PM announced Plan B, including working from home and vaccine passports, would be implemented
Sir Patrick Vallance said the Government's scientific advisers (Sage) had said more action needed to be taken over booster shots.
The chief scientific adviser said from No10: "The boosters are incredibly important, but it is also about trying to reduce the possibility of spread, which means reducing social contacts in order to try and achieve that.”
Data suggest that the Pfizer jab will protect against Omicron – which has mutations that are likely to help it get around some antibodies.
The new data revealed two jabs prevent serious illness from the mutant strain.
But, getting a booster shot, or a third dose, "turbocharges immunity" and is what is needed to successfully beat the variant, the study found.
It suggests three doses is the new two.
However, Pfizer said two doses will still work and there were other ways to measure immunity, such as T-cells.
Earlier this week, Ben Osborn, country manager for the pharmaceutical firm in the UK, said people are likely to need Covid-19 booster shots “for a number of years to come”.
He told PA: “What we don’t know is whether that will be a six-month boost, as we’re all going through right now, or whether that will become more of a flu-like booster job on an annual basis.”
What is Plan B?
What is Plan B?
Plan B is the Government's back-up plan for the winter months to deal with Covid.
- Masks mandatory in most indoor settings (excluding pubs and restaurants)
- Brits told to work from home – this is advised, but not legally-binding
- Vaccine passports for big events such as nightclubs and footie matches
Masks were already reintroduced on public transport and in shops earlier this month in a bid to slow the Omicron strain.
Masks for other indoor settings will come into force TOMORROW
The work from home guidance will apply from MONDAY
Vaccine passports should be shown for nightclubs and footie matches from WEDNESDAY
Is there a Plan C?
Ministers have said they aren't afraid to go further if they need to.
But there are no more formal plans for what that will mean.
Ministers have repeatedly refused to say what further measures might be needed.
Scientists have suggested social distancing could return to help combat the new variant.
And Jenny Harries suggested people should cut down their social contacts too, but this is not thought to be government advice or in any plans at the moment.
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