Since the new variant – Omicron was discovered in South Africa, it has spread to most parts of the world in just a matter of weeks. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus the director of WHO (World Health Organisation) said that the transmissibility rate of Omicron is much higher than that of delta variant as well. He further added that vaccination is not the only source of protection against the new variant, people will have to use masks and maintain social distancing as well.
Omicron Spreading At A Faster Pace Than Expected
As per reports Omicron has now been spotted in more than 75 countries. The report further added that many of the smaller countries might also be having this new variant but hasn’t been detected yet. Tedros added that people should not leave masks or should not stop sanitizing if they are fully vaccinated.
As per reports, the Omicron variant reduces the efficacy levels of vaccines significantly and this has been tested against Pfizer`s 2 dose vaccine as well. The only way to retain the efficacy is to get a booster shot which increases the antibodies levels by 25 times thereby giving much better protection against the new variant. However, the 2 doses offered by various pharma companies are still effective against another known form of covid variants and other diseases as well.
Dr. Mike Ryan from WHO stated that by the usage of masks we won’t be able to stop the Omicron however, we can slow it down considerably thereby giving scientists and researchers more time to work on this and to come up with a cure as well. Another important thing that the governments of all the countries need to do is be ready for another wave which might be coming due to Omicron.
One of the major issues with Omicron is that it has the ability to affect thousands of people very quickly. if the delta variant took months to affect a certain number of people, Omicron could do the same within weeks and if gets dangerous due to any of its 50+ mutations then the damage would be catastrophic.
WHO is also concerned that the booster shots won’t be available to smaller countries in the coming weeks as the wealthy countries have high purchasing powers and some of them have already started rolling out this for the entire adult population. Tedros stated that even if some countries vaccinate all their people the virus won’t go as it would stay in smaller countries and then it could mutate again thereby evading the booster shots as well.
The only way to limit this is to have a global vaccination and for this, the wealthy countries need to slow down on their vaccine distribution and help the smaller countries as well. Many of the countries have now just started their 2nd round of vaccination.
A vaccine tax is to be introduced in the near future which would give poorer nations a much better standing in the vaccine distribution. The pharma companies would be at a benefit if they accept the vaccine tax and the wealthier nations won’t have much of an issue as they won’t need to spend more than 5% of their health care budget over this.
As of now, no final decision has been made on the vaccine tax, and it’s still in talks among the countries. AstraZeneca had conducted on-ground testing for Omicron and is now checking those results with lab data to have a much better understanding of the new variant. In the meantime WHO has asked all the countries to share all data related to the ongoing research so that all countries can access it.
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