The Efficacy of Updated COVID Vaccines in Protecting Against Severe Outcomes

The Efficacy of Updated COVID Vaccines in Protecting Against Severe Outcomes

In a recent study conducted by the CDC’s IVY and VISION networks, the updated COVID vaccines have shown promising results in protecting immunocompetent adults against serious virus-related outcomes. The research spanned from September 2023 to January 2024 and provided valuable insights into the effectiveness of the latest vaccines.

According to the data gathered, the vaccine effectiveness (VE) against COVID-related emergency department or urgent care encounters was reported to be at 47% (95% CI 44-50). Furthermore, the protection against hospitalizations associated with the coronavirus ranged from 43% (95% CI 27-56) to 52% (95% CI 47-57). These results signify a significant level of protection offered by the updated vaccines.

The FDA authorized the updated 2023-2024 COVID-19 vaccines in September 2023, and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended them for adults and children aged 6 months and older. The vaccines were specifically designed to target the XBB.1.5 Omicron subvariant, based on recommendations from FDA staff and outside advisors.

Despite the authorization and recommendations, the uptake of the updated vaccines has been low. Only 22% of U.S. adults have received the latest vaccines, with a slightly higher rate of 42% among adults aged 65 and over. This low uptake poses a challenge in achieving widespread immunity and protection against the virus.

The current study involved data from 369 emergency departments and urgent care clinics, along with 229 hospitals in the VISION network, across eight states. Additionally, data from 26 hospitals in 20 states in the IVY network were included. The analysis focused on adult patients who visited these facilities for COVID-like illness and included both case patients (positive SARS-CoV-2 test) and controls (negative SARS-CoV-2 test).

Effectiveness Across Age Groups

The study revealed that vaccine effectiveness against emergency department and urgent care visits was slightly higher for individuals who received the vaccine 7-59 days earlier compared to those who received it 60-119 days earlier. Furthermore, protection was higher for adults aged 18-64 than for adults aged 65 years and above.

The research conducted by the CDC’s IVY and VISION networks provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of updated COVID vaccines in protecting against severe outcomes. While the vaccines have shown to be effective in reducing emergency department visits and hospitalizations, the low uptake remains a concern in achieving widespread immunity. It is crucial for individuals to follow current CDC recommendations and get vaccinated to curb the spread of the virus and protect vulnerable populations.


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