Bivalent Vaccine Provides Added Protection Against BA.5, XBB/XBB.1.5

Additional protection against symptomatic infection provided for people who had previously received monovalent vaccine doses

(HealthDay News) — Bivalent vaccines seem to provide additional protection against symptomatic BA.5 and XBB/XBB.1.5 severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) omicron sublineages, according to research published in the Jan. 27 issue of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Ruth Link-Gelles, PhD, from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues analyzed data from the Increasing Community Access to Testing national pharmacy program for SARS-CoV-2 testing to estimate the vaccine effectiveness of updated (bivalent) mRNA COVID-19 vaccines against symptomatic infection caused by BA.5-related and XBB/XBB.1.5-related sublineages among adults during Dec. 1, 2022, to Jan. 13, 2023. A total of 29,175 nucleic acid amplification tests were included from adults who had previously received 2 to 4 monovalent COVID-19 vaccine doses.

The researchers found that for adults aged 18 to 49 years, the relative vaccine effectiveness of a bivalent booster given 2 to 3 months earlier was 52% and 48% against symptomatic BA.5 infection and against symptomatic XBB/XBB.1.5 infection, respectively, compared with no bivalent booster.

“All persons should stay up to date with recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including receiving a bivalent booster dose when eligible,” the authors write.

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