Omicron versus inactivated SARS-CoV-2 vaccines
Updated: Mar 14, 2022
Newer evidence has shown several of the most widely used COVID-19 vaccines containing inactivated SARS-CoV-2 provide little to no protection against infection with the rapidly spreading Omicron variant. Despite diminished protection against Omicron, these vaccines seem to protect against severe disease, thus remaining crucial for preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19.
These vaccines are far easier and cheaper to produce and have accounted for nearly 5 billion out of the estimated 11 billion doses delivered globally so far. Before Omicron’s emergence, inactivated vaccines were instrumental in the campaign for worldwide vaccine coverage throughout the resource-limited regions.
Although not necessarily protective against infection by Omicron, the booster doses with the same vaccine have shown evidence of slight restoration of neutralization activity in many people and are still protecting vaccinated individuals from the worst ravages of COVID-19 triggered by the variant. Science and medical professionals continue to encourage people to get boosted until global health agencies reevaluate the role of inactivated vaccines in the worldwide fight against COVID-19 and develop newer strategies for additional vaccination doses.