Monday, December 11, 2023

WHO says Omicron might outpace Delta; UK announces booster shots for adult population

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As per the World Health Organization (WHO), the new Omicron coronavirus strain found in 63 countries will surpass Delta in spreading speed. “As of December 9, 2021, cases of human infections with this variant have been identified in 63 countries across all six WHO regions,” read the overview by the WHO, reported Sputnik. It is not clear yet, why the new strain is spreading so fast, the organization added. “However, given the current available data, it is likely that Omicron will outpace the Delta variant where community transmission occurs,” the document said.

The Omicron variant might reduce the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines based on preliminary data, but this strain is less dangerous than Delta, the organization assumed, reported Sputnik. “There are limited available data, and no peer-reviewed evidence, on vaccine efficacy or effectiveness to date for Omicron. Preliminary evidence, and the considerably altered antigenic profile of the Omicron spike protein, suggests a reduction in vaccine efficacy against infection and transmission associated with Omicron,” the statement said.

In the UK, COVID-19 alert level was raised to the second-highest tier amid increasing Omicron cases on Sunday. Britain’s COVID alert level has been increased from Level 3 to Level 4 “in light of the rapid increase in Omicron cases”, British chief medical officers said in a joint statement. The statement also said, “Early evidence shows that Omicron is spreading much faster than Delta and that vaccine protection against symptomatic disease from Omicron is reduced.”

Just hours after the development, UK PM Boris Johnson said in a TV statement, “No one should be in any doubt, there is a tidal wave of Omicron coming.” He further informed the nation about the “booster target” set by his administration under which booster shots of Covid-19 vaccines will be provided to willing adults by the end of December.

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