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Booster shots protect against Omicron

A row of vials labeled “COVID-19 vaccine.”

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is highly contagious, even among vaccinated people and people who have already had COVID-19. So you might be wondering if vaccines still work.

Recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that they do. Vaccines help protect you from getting sick with Omicron. And when people who are vaccinated do get sick, they are less likely to need care in a hospital—or to die. A third dose of the COVID-19 vaccines offers even greater protection.

The facts about Omicron and vaccines

Researchers tracked cases of COVID-19 before and after the spread of the Omicron variant.

According to CDC, during the Omicron wave:

  • Boosters reduced the chances of becoming hospitalized by 90%, compared to unvaccinated people.
  • People who received boosters were 82% less likely than unvaccinated people to visit an urgent care facility.
  • Compared to people who had booster shots, unvaccinated adults were 3.6 times as likely to get COVID-19. And they were 23 times as likely to need care in a hospital.
  • Unvaccinated adults were twice as likely to get COVID-19 as adults who were fully vaccinated but not boosted. But they were 5 times as likely to be hospitalized.

Give your immune system a boost

Your COVID-19 vaccine still works. But its protection fades over time. CDC reports said that this is especially true for people 65 and older.

That's why CDC recommends boosters. To protect yourself from Omicron and other variants, get yours as soon as you are eligible. Pfizer and Moderna booster shots both offered protection against Omicron. You can choose which brand you prefer. And it's OK to mix and match. (Currently, Pfizer is the only booster authorized for ages 5 to 17, though.)

Learn more about COVID-19 boosters in our Coronavirus topic center.

Reviewed 4/22/2022

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