Updated COVID-19 vaccine protects against many variants

The virus that causes COVID-19 will continue to evolve

by Staff
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ATLANTA-CDC data show that vaccination offered significant protection. People who received the updated COVID-19 vaccine were 54% less likely to get COVID-19 during the four-month period from mid-September to January. The vaccine provided similar levels of protection against XBB lineage variants and the JN.1 variant.

To estimate vaccine effectiveness of the updated COVID-19 vaccine, CDC analyzed data from the Increasing Community Access to Testing (ICATT) COVID-19 pharmacy testing program. The protection provided by the updated vaccine was compared to not receiving an updated vaccine, regardless of a person’s infection history or the number of previous COVID-19 vaccines they received. That means these estimates reflect the additional protection provided by getting an updated COVID-19 vaccine dose above protection that people have from any previous vaccination, infection, or both.

The updated COVID-19 vaccines have been available since mid-September, so these estimates only include data from the 4 months since the updated vaccine became available. Protection against COVID-19 from earlier versions of the COVID-19 vaccine decreased over several months after vaccination. Based on that, we expect that protection from the updated vaccine will also decline over time. The same is true for the protection derived from infection.

However, most people who are vaccinated and those who had COVID-19 will have some protection from future severe COVID-19. Although the amount and duration of protection from vaccination or infection can vary from person to person, CDC data have demonstrated that original COVID-19 vaccines can help protect against being put on a ventilator and/or death for up to 2 years and bivalent COVID-19 vaccines also provide sustained protection against critical illness and death. Even with this sustained protection it is important that you get your updated COVID-19 vaccine since it can provide additional protection. Additional vaccine effectiveness data against emergency department/urgent care visits and hospitalizations will be shared as they become available.

CDC recommends everyone 6 months or older get an updated COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination remains the best protection against COVID-19-related hospitalization and death. Vaccination also reduces your chance of suffering the effects of Long COVID, which can develop during or following acute infection and last for an extended duration.

Media Release/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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