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As Omicron spreads, WHO chief scientist’s take on Covid-19 vaccines

As Omicron spreads, WHO chief scientist’s take on Covid-19 vaccines

WHO chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan has said vaccines are still proving to be effective against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) as she pointed out its “severity has not surged to a new level” even though infections are going up exponentially in many countries due to the Omicron variant. Dr Soumya Swaminathan also stressed the Omicron variant is infecting both vaccinated and unvaccinated people worldwide and urged everyone to get the jab against Covid-19. This is a modal window. Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window. End of dialog window. This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. WHO chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan has said vaccines are still proving to be effective against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) as she pointed out its “severity has not surged to a new level” even though infections are going up exponentially in many countries due to the Omicron variant. Dr Soumya Swaminathan also stressed the Omicron variant is infecting both vaccinated and unvaccinated people worldwide and urged everyone to get the jab against Covid-19. |#+| Swaminathan said information about Omicron is still emerging and it would still be premature to conclude definitely but studies are pointing towards a reduction in neutralisation capacity. Vaccinated people and those who have had prior infections are still getting breakthrough infections with Omicron, she added. Also read | Covid-19: Some nations rethink isolation, testing rules as Omicron sweeps globe That is why the numbers that we are seeing around the world today are extremely high because these infections are occurring in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. However, it appears that vaccines are proving to be still protective because even though the numbers are going up exponentially in many countries severity of the disease has not surged to a new level, she added. Stressing that hospitalisations and even within hospitalised people the need for ventilation and critical care has not gone up proportionately, Swaminathan said this is a good sign and it shows previous immunity is either due to vaccines or in some cases due to natural infection by the virus. And this is what we had expected because immunity, immune responses are much more than just neutralising antibodies, she added. Also read | Ban on unvaccinated, night curfew, yellow alert: India fights rapid Covid spread Swaminathan also talked about factors that account for a vaccines effectiveness against Covid-19 at the World Health Organization’s press briefing. She said its effectiveness varies a little bit between vaccines though the majority of all of the WHO Emergency Use Listing jabs actually have very high rates of protection against severe disease and death at least till the Delta variant. Also read | Tsunami of Covid cases may lead to collapse of health systems, says WHO chief She also said that there are biological factors also that decide a vaccines effectiveness. It includes age, underlying illnesses and we know and proved it with all the variants that the older you are the more the underlying illnesses and co-morbidities the more vulnerable you are to get the disease, she said. Referring to the third factor which decides the effectiveness of the vaccine, Swaminathan said, It is the time since vaccination and the waning of the immunity and we know that there is some amount of meaning,” she said. “But again there is more waning for infection against infectious and that is why we are seeing a lot of breakthrough infections now especially with Omicron because Omicron does have the capacity to overcome pre-existing immunity, and needs higher levels anti-bodies and protection. Also read | RBI flags Omicron threat to growth; says banks strong enough to face challenges Highly transmissible Omicron propelled Covid-19 cases in the US, France and Denmark to fresh records on Wednesday. An AFP tally shows 6.55 million infections were reported globally for seven days through Tuesday demonstrating Omicron’s unprecedented spread—the highest since the WHO declared a pandemic in March 2020. I am highly concerned that Omicron, being more transmissible, circulating at the same time as Delta, is leading to a tsunami of cases, said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. This is and will continue to put immense pressure on exhausted health workers, and health systems on the brink of collapse, he added..

world-news 2021-12-30 hindustantimes