The Omicron variant is more transmissible than the Delta strain and reduces vaccine efficacy, but causes less severe symptoms, says the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Delta variant was first identified in India earlier this year, and is responsible for most of the world’s coronavirus infection.
Photo via Olhar Digital
However, South Africa’s discovery of Omicron which has a large number of mutations last month prompted countries around the world to impose travel bans on Southern African countries and reintroduce domestic restrictions to slow its spread.
According to NST, WHO said Omicron had spread to 63 countries as of December 9th. Faster transmission was noted in South Africa, where Delta is less prevalent and in Britain, where Delta is the dominant strain.
However, lack of data meant they couldn't confirm if Omicron’s rate of transmission was because it was less prone to immune responses, higher transmissibility or a combination of both. Early evidence suggests Omicron causes “a reduction in vaccine efficacy against infection and transmission.”
“Given the current available data, it is likely that the Omicron will outpace the Delta variant where community transmission occurs,” it added.
Omicron infections have so far caused “mild” illness or asymptomatic cases, but WHO said the data was insufficient to establish the variant’s clinical severity.
Vaccine manufacturer Pfizer/BioNTech said three doses of their jabs were still effective against Omicron. Countries with sufficient vaccine supplies like Britain and France have encouraged their populations to receive a third “booster” jab to fight Omicron.
The vaccine can still protect you from getting severely ill from the COVID-19 virus!
So, please register yourself for the vaccine and remember to always adhere to the COVID-19 SOPs!
Stay safe, everyone.
By: Aishah Akashah Ahadiat