A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that the latest coronavirus vaccine provides 54% protection.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that the latest coronavirus vaccine provides 54% protection.

The latest COVID-19 vaccine provides a 54% increased protection for adults from contracting the virus, according to a new study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday.

The data, published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, shows that the vaccine approved in September provides protection against both the virus strain it was originally created to target and newer coronavirus strains and mutations currently circulating nationwide.

Dr. Bruce Hirsch, an infectious disease specialist at Northwell Health, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention findings are encouraging and should prompt more New Yorkers to receive the latest booster shot. So far, less than 10% of Long Island residents have received the shot, data shows.

But Hirsch acknowledges that the study has limitations, including a lack of data on how effective the booster is in preventing severe Covid illness, including hospitalization and death.

“The fact that it is shown to be effective… is very reassuring and leads us to believe that it is very likely to be effective in preventing the worst consequences of Covid,” he said.

The nationwide study looked at more than 9,200 people with coronavirus-like symptoms who were tested for the virus at CVS Pharmacies or Walgreens locations between Sept. 21 and Jan. 14. The researchers found that nearly 3,300 of these patients tested positive for the virus.

The data show that among those who received a booster dose seven to 59 days earlier, the vaccine was 58% effective at preventing symptomatic infection. Meanwhile, the report found that the booster dose was 49% effective among those who received their doses 60 to 119 days earlier.

“Efficacy is expected to decline with additional time since vaccination, especially against less serious diseases,” the report said. “CDC will continue to monitor trends in (vaccine effectiveness).”

While most previous studies have measured the vaccine’s effectiveness against hospitalization and serious illness — the CDC said future reports will examine those results — the latest results are in line with, or better than, previous research showing its effectiveness rate against coronavirus infections.

The booster’s effectiveness also exceeds the roughly 50% annual efficacy rate for the flu vaccine, health officials said.

This is the third updated dose authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, following the original series of vaccines.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the latest dose for anyone 6 months or older on Sept. 12, but the percentage of Americans who have received the most recent dose is lagging.

Nationally, only 17% of Americans have gotten a booster shot while in New York state that number is significantly lower at 11.6%, according to state health department data.

Meanwhile, Long Island is among the bottom 20% of all 62 counties statewide in receiving the boost.

Health Department data shows 9.3% of residents in Nassau County received a booster dose compared to 8.6% in Suffolk County.

Dr. Andrew Handel, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Stony Brook Children’s Hospital, said a combination of factors caused those numbers to decline.

“People are feeling less enthusiastic about the vaccine in general,” Handel said, and stresses that the focus should be on vaccinating the most at-risk individuals, especially as immunity from previous doses wanes. “The current strain of the virus has become less likely to cause severe illness over time.”

The coronavirus positivity rate, both statewide and on Long Island, has declined in recent weeks after peaking for the season at the beginning of January, Department of Health data show.

(Tags for translation)Coronavirus

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