About 3 in 10 parents say they will have their child under 5 vaccinated against Covid “immediately”, a survey has found
A sister virus to Omicron is rapidly replacing the original strain in many parts of the world, but early data suggests its impact is “unlikely to occur,” according to World Health Organization experts who provided an update on the Omicron coronavirus variant in a technical briefing they are significant”. today.
dr Boris Pavlin, senior field epidemiologist at WHO’s Covid-19 response team, said the BA.2 sublineage is overtaking the original Omicron strain BA.1, “but currently shows no cause for concern.”
Pavlin said BA.2 has already become the leading cause of Covid-19 infections in the Philippines, Qatar, India and Denmark and is poised to become dominant in several other countries soon.
He said based on direct clinical comparisons in countries like Denmark, BA.2 infections do not appear to be more severe than those caused by BA.1.
Although a larger number of infections can lead to more hospitalizations simply because so many more people are getting sick, Pavlin said that in countries where BA.2 has become dominant, “we haven’t seen larger outbreaks in hospitalizations than expected.”
However, hospitalizations and deaths are lagging indicators and it may be too early in the BA.2 life cycle to see these types of increases.
Data from the UK and Denmark show that vaccines against BA.2 are about as effective as against BA.1.
Omicron is very effective at breaching vaccine protection and causing disease, although booster shots greatly increase this protection.
Vaccine efficacy against symptoms increases from about 13% to about 70% from two to three doses for BA.2 and the original Omicron strain.
Vaccination is more effective at preventing serious outcomes like hospitalization and death, Pavlin noted.
“Vaccination doesn’t do a good job of preventing infection with Omicron, but it continues to prevent serious illness almost as well as Delta, so vaccination remains crucial,” he said.
Pavlin said preventing transmission of Covid-19 remains important to prevent other variants from emerging.
“The next variant will be more transmissible than Omicron because it has to be to be the next variant,” he said, “it may or may not be more severe.”
He said countries easing restrictions might need to be prepared to reintroduce them should conditions worsen again from the virus.
“We cannot assume that the worst is behind us,” he said.
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