Bivalent COVID vaccines provide ‘modest’ protection, study shows

by Jacob Fuller

Lauren Dempsey, MS in Biomedicine and Law, RN, FISM News 


New research, published as a preprint by medRxiv, indicates that the newly formulated COVID-19 boosters provide limited protection against infection, at best. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were just 30% effective according to researchers with the Cleveland Clinic.

The research comes as the Biden administration and Dr. Anthony Fauci continue to urge Americans, especially those that are high risk, to get their bivalent COVID-19 boosters before the holidays. First lady Jill Biden said at a town hall earlier this month that “it is the most important thing you can do.”

The researchers evaluated data from more than 51,000 clinic employees after the latest booster shots were authorized by the FDA in September 2022 through December 2022. About 10,800 employees received one of the bivalents. The researchers then began to monitor for positive COVID-19 test results and compared the boosted population to those who were vaccinated but didn’t receive a bivalent and to individuals who were unvaccinated.

The authors found that “among 51,011 working-aged Cleveland Clinic employees, the bivalent COVID-19 vaccine booster was 30% effective in preventing infection, during the time when the virus strains dominant in the community were represented in the vaccine.” Only about 5% of employees contracted COVID-19 during the course of the 13-week study.

The circulating variants during the time of the study were represented in the bivalent booster vaccines. The authors acknowledge that it is unclear if the vaccine will be effective when new strains begin circulating in the community.

The study shows that the vaccines provide modest protection, but further studies should be conducted to evaluate “the effect of multiple COVID-19 vaccine doses on future risk of COVID-19.”

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also showed that bivalent COVID-19 vaccines provided modest protection to immunocompromised adults and individuals over 65 years old when compared to those who had been previously vaccinated and boosted.

The previous COVID-19 vaccines have proven to have poor efficacy and durability, waning after just months of vaccination, yet mass vaccination programs were aggressively pushed onto the American public. Data has repeatedly shown that natural immunity is just as effective at providing protection and that vaccinated individuals are still the majority of those hospitalized and those dying with COVID-19 infections.

Last week, the Biden administration released a statement detailing their efforts to make “vaccinations, testing, and treatments even more widely available and accessible as COVID-19 cases increase.” This includes expanding access to taxpayer-funded testing, making taxpayer-funded at-home tests available, and making vaccination as well as treatment more accessible to all Americans. Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House’s COVID-19 coordinator, praised these actions, saying “our job is to make sure those things are widely available and accessible.”

A growing number of Americans are questioning not only the efficacy of the COVID shots but also their safety. Recently, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently announced that he is petitioning the Florida Supreme Court for a grand jury to investigate wrongdoing on the part of pharmaceutical companies as relates to the COVID vaccines and their safety. The Florida Supreme Court approved his request.