The Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 puts tremendous stress and pressure on the global medical community. This variant is not causing a new pandemic wave, but rather a tsunami with as yet unknown repercussions.
This week the USA reported that Omicron raised its prevalence from 0.4% to 2.9% in a single week, and in some States it was increased from 2% to 13% over the same period.
It is known that due to the mutations found, the vaccines currently in circulation are not as effective for Omicron as they are for the other variants. However, the expected effectiveness is still above 70%, which is good enough to help protect many in society; this will be confirmed within the next few days. Omicron also appears to be less pathogenic for the general population, but not for vulnerable people and risk groups.
As we are only a week away from the festivities in many parts of the world, we strongly recommend that everyone over 65 years old, and/or with relevant chronic illnesses go and receive the booster shot. This is particularly urgent if the primary COVID-19 vaccination series were taken 6 months ago or more.
All well-known and practiced sanitation and hygienic measures must be enforced with stricter socialisation rules to avoid cross-contamination of this variant, which is highly transmissible.
Let us protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities this Christmas so that we can all enjoy many other festivities together in the future!
Stay safe – get your booster and take sensible care!