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Luke O'Neill: COVID booster could give 'three year protection'

Professor Luke O'Neill says new data shows booster shots against the coronavirus are 'absolutely ...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.42 30 Sep 2021


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Luke O'Neill: COVID booster co...

Luke O'Neill: COVID booster could give 'three year protection'

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

13.42 30 Sep 2021


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Professor Luke O'Neill says new data shows booster shots against the coronavirus are 'absolutely galvanising the immune system'.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine has analysed exactly what the booster is doing.

It found rates of COVID-19 and severe illness were "substantially lower" among those who received a booster dose.

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Prof O'Neill told The Pat Kenny Show this shows booster shots are working.

"The Israelis began to give boosters first - in fact they began giving them in the summer.

"There was a study in Israel that said if you were over 60, you were three-times more likely to be infected post-vaccination than someone who had been recently vaccinated.

"On the back of that, they start their campaign - and it was a bit controversial.

"But now 1.1 million people over 60 have been given boosters, and it's a remarkable set of data.

"They're 11-fold less likely to be infected now post boosting.

"And then secondly they're immune response - they've measured all their antibodies and various things - huge increase in immunity after the third shot.

"So now the Israelis basically have told us boosting is really working".

Prof O'Neill says the boosters are even more effective than previously thought.

"We thought the boost would be like a refresher course for the immune system - in other words it's getting a bit sleepy, it's a nice upgrade.

"These people's immune [systems] have been upgraded, and the antibodies they're getting will fight any variant they think.

"There's a massive range of antibodies now in their bodies because the boost is so powerful.

"That means that you won't need to get boosters in the future, is one prediction by the way.

"It's so strong in this response, they're predicting now you'll be alright maybe for two to three years.

"The antibody repertoire - as we call this in my business - has expanded massively.

"It's almost as if the third shot is absolutely galvanising the immune system into a great state."

And he says this could change how we give future vaccines that may be needed.

"They're talking about now this should be a three shot vaccine anyway.

"If the third shot works so well, change the protocol: start with two and give a third later.

"And you'll have persistent, long-term protection is the idea".

Luke O'Neill: COVID booster could give 'three year protection'

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