(File photo) Awareness drive against the new coronavirus Omicron variant in Mumbai Photograph:( Reuters )
Omicron variant was designated as ‘variant of concern’ by the WHO last week
As alarm over the new Covid strain, Omicron, spreads, World Health Organisation’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan on Thursday said the only way to tackle against any new variants is to get fully vaccinated.
“Regardless of the variant, complete vaccination is likely to protect against severe disease and deaths, especially in older age groups,” Swaminathan wrote on Twitter, adding that the goal now ought to be to protect those around the world who currently have not had access to any COVID-19 jabs.
Regardless of the variant, complete vaccination is likely to protect against severe disease and deaths, especially in older age groups, as observed in these countries https://t.co/Bz5sw8aHCO— Soumya Swaminathan (@doctorsoumya) December 2, 2021
Omicron variant was designated as ‘variant of concern’ by the WHO last week after they came to the conclusion that it was “highly likely” that the new strain can escape immunity caused by previous infection or vaccination, because of the presence of over 30 mutations on its spike protein.
The new variant has forced all the countries to reinforce travel bans amid concerns over the spread of the virus.
More than 56 countries were reportedly implementing travel measures aimed at potentially delaying the importation of the new variant.
The WHO has slammed nations for creating hype and panic over the new variant.
It was “certainly a worry” that scientists may be dissuaded from revealing new information about variants after seeing what has happened to southern Africa, WHO’s Covid-19 technical lead Dr Maria Van Kerkhove was quoted as saying.
Following the news about the Omicron variant from South Africa and Botswana, many countries including the US, and the UK, moved to bring in travel bans or quarantines for travellers from a number of African countries.
First reported to the WHO less than a week ago after being detected in southern Africa earlier this month, Omicron has already appeared in several countries.
(With inputs from agencies)