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Vaccine Effectiveness: Which COVID-19 Shots Offer the Most Protection?

Researchers at the University of Michigan have undertaken a thorough investigation into the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine boosters, evaluating both monovalent and bivalent doses in preventing severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death. Led by Sabir Meah and Bhramar Mukherjee, the study involved an analysis of 80 studies and 150 million patient observations from global datasets, encompassing various vaccination regimens.

The study assessed three distinct vaccination regimens: a monovalent booster targeting the original strain, a second monovalent booster with the original formulation, and a new bivalent vaccine specifically designed for the fall of 2022 to address Omicron variants. The findings revealed that all sequential doses provided substantial benefits in preventing hospitalization and death. Particularly, the bivalent vaccine dose tailored for the fall of 2022 demonstrated stronger estimates.

This research supports the periodic updating of COVID-19 vaccines to align with circulating virus variants. The researchers emphasize the significance of obtaining reliable estimates of vaccine effectiveness to build public trust and counteract misinformation. The study also establishes an analytical framework for future research on the vaccine effectiveness of annual formulations.

The researchers underscore the substantial protection offered by COVID-19 vaccines against severe outcomes, reinforcing the importance of booster doses. They anticipate that this protective pattern will persist with additional annual vaccines approved by regulatory authorities, emphasizing the ongoing need for study and consideration of their findings in future research on vaccine effectiveness.

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