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As COVID Cases Climb In Tri-State Area, Pfizer Says Its Vaccine Booster Appears To Protect Against Omicron Variant

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The number of new coronavirus cases is now rising across in the Tri-State Area.

On Tuesday, New York City reported 2,050 new cases. New York state reported 8,200 new cases, up from 3,400 a month ago.

There's a similar increase in New Jersey, where more than 4,100 new cases have been reported, compared to 3,200 last month.

In Connecticut, cases nearly doubled last month to more than 1,900 new cases reported Tuesday.


In the midst of this, there's some good news about battling the Omicron variant with a booster shot. A preliminary study from Pfizer suggests that its booster vaccine may provide protection.

As CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez explains, the first and most important thing to remember is that these are preliminary studies, meaning that they have yet to be fully evaluated by outside scientists.

Equally important is that these were laboratory studies, meaning that Pfizer measured antibodies in test tubes from people after a booster shot and compared that to antibody levels that have been shown to be protective in real-world vaccinated people.

That said, the laboratory data indicate a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine increases neutralizing antibodies by 25 times compared to two doses against the Omicron variant, but that two doses still help fight it.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said that's encouraging news.

"At the level of protection, at least from a laboratory parameter, that you get when you get a third shot boost, and even some protection that you may get against severe disease with just two shots, it really is quite good," Fauci said.

Even more encouraging, according to Fauci, is that getting a short series of shots may mean that we won't need annual boosters to maintain immunity against many coronaviruses.

"You broaden the breadth and perhaps even the durability of protection," Fauci said.


Pfizer also says that it is continuing to develop a specific vaccine against the Omicron variant, and expects to have it available by March.

Because the Moderna vaccine and booster are almost identical in makeup to the Pfizer booster, it is believed Moderna will offer a similar level of Omicron protection.

Until then, the early data are yet another reason to get a booster shot now.

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