CHICAGO — Pfizer’s vaccine and booster shots seem to offer protection against COVID-19’s Omicron variant, the vaccine maker announced Wednesday.
But it appears the booster shot is key: People who had two shots of the Pfizer vaccine and then Pfizer’s booster shot appeared to have significant protection against the variant, while people who just got the initial vaccine shots and not the booster had lower antibody levels against Omicron, according to the company, according to The New York Times.
The company’s tests were small and preliminary, its officials said.
More research needs to be done to see what protection available vaccines and booster shots provide against Omicron, the headline-grabbing variant that’s thought to be highly contagious.
Chicago’s first case of the Omicron variant was detected Tuesday night. That case was found in someone who is fully vaccinated and has had a booster shot. The person has not been hospitalized.
In the wake of that finding, local officials urged people to get vaccinated, get a booster shot, wear their masks in public and take other safety measures.
Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, has said it will take several weeks for experts to determine how transmissible Omicron is, if it can make people more severely ill and if available vaccines are effective against it.
Arwady said experts expect the vaccines to offer some protection against Omicron, especially when it comes to preventing severe illness and death. But it’s possible people will need another booster shot to be better protected against Omicron in the future, she said.
For now, the best thing people can do is ensure they’re fully vaccinated and boosted, Arwady said during a Tuesday livestream.
“What I do know is getting the vaccines we have now and getting boosted has helped protect against the spread of Omicron in a number of case examples,” Arwady said.
• In Illinois, about 7.5 million people — or 58.95 percent of the state’s 12.7 million people — are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to state data.
• Across the state, 71,745 vaccine doses are being administered per day, based on a seven-day rolling average.
• Illinois and Chicago have administered at least 17,850,055 vaccine doses of the 20,431,885 provided to them.
• City data shows more than 1.6 million Chicagoans — or 61.7 percent of all residents — are fully vaccinated, and 68.8 percent of all Chicagoans have gotten at least one shot.
Everyone 5 and older is eligible to get vaccinated in Chicago.
COVID-19 vaccinations are free and do not require insurance. Anyone can call the city’s coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 to get more information on how and where to get vaccinated in their community.
• Fourteen Illinoisans were reported dead from COVID-19 since Tuesday.
• At least 26,712 people have died from COVID-19 in Illinois, and another 3,022 deaths are probably related to the virus, according to the state.
• The state reported 6,658 cases since Tuesday. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in Illinois up to 1,867,912.
• Since Tuesday, 197,555 tests were reported statewide. In all, 40,435,345 tests have been reported in Illinois.
• Illinois’ seven-day case positivity rate was at 4.3 percent. The figure represents the percentage of people testing positive among recent tests. It was at 4.6 percent Tuesday.
• Illinois’ seven-day test positivity rate, which measures the percentage of tests that were positive, was at 5.5 percent. It was at 5.5 percent Tuesday.
• As of Tuesday night, 641 people with COVID-19 were in the ICU and 284 people with COVID-19 were using ventilators in Illinois.
• In Chicago, six deaths was reported since Tuesday. There have been at least 6,058 deaths from COVID-19 in Chicago. The city is seeing an average of more than four people dying per day, a 3 percent decrease from last week.
• Chicago has had 828 confirmed cases reported since Tuesday. It’s had a total of 351,351 confirmed cases. An average of 903 confirmed cases are being reported per day, up 73 percent from the week prior.
• Testing in Chicago is up 37 percent since a week ago.
• Chicago’s positivity rate was at 4.1 percent, up from 3.3 percent the week prior.
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers.
Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast” here: