SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Local infectious disease expert and LSU Health Shreveport Director of Testing and Vaccines says the findings of a small study showing Pfizer’s booster offers strong protection against the fast-spreading omicron variant are promising, but it will be a few more weeks before we know just how effective it is.

“It’s a relatively small study; we’re talking about just a few dozen folks. And It’s a laboratory test and so it has to be taken as a preliminary result,” Dr. John Vanchiere said.

The study shows the booster shot did result in higher antibody levels in the blood of study participants, giving them significant protection against the omicron variant of COVID-19.

“With the booster dose, boosts, and gives you more antibodies and at least it seems from this preliminary data that it adds effectiveness against the omicron variant,” Vanchiere said. “That’s in contrast to those who had just gotten the standard doses one and two where the protection was significantly reduced.”

However, just how effective Pfizer’s booster will be won’t be known for a another few weeks.

“How many people who been vaccinated versus how many who been boosted, versus how many people who have not been vaccinated at all developed omicron variant infections.”

Omicron is believed to be more transmissible than the delta variant. On average, an infected person with the delta variant can transmit to eight or nine people.

“With this omicron variant, we think that that number may be even higher.”

But Vanchiere says there is no need to panic as long as people continue to take precautions and follow COVID mitigation strategies.

“Vaccination and wearing masks are the two most important things [that] should continue to work for this omicron variant.”