Two Covid doses not very effective against Omicron variant, UK experts claim

WION Web Team
London, United Kingdom Published: Dec 11, 2021, 09:26 AM(IST)

UK scientists have warned two shots of Covid vaccines may not be very effective against Omicron variant. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Experts have claimed that a booster shot of Pfizer/BioNTech injected after the initial round of Oxford/AstraZeneca or Pfizer can increase protection to 70-75 per cent against symptomatic infection

UK’s health experts have claimed that two doses of coronavirus vaccine cannot protect you from symptomatic Omicron variant of coronavirus.

People who have had two doses of Covid vaccines are not completely saved from getting infected by the new variant, but a booster shot may help avoid it to some extent, experts claim. “I think what we’re seeing is that if you’ve had two doses more than three months ago, then it’s not going to prevent you from getting symptomatic disease,” said Dr Susan Hopkins, the UKHSA’s chief medical adviser.

However, the experts have also added that a booster shot of Pfizer/BioNTech injected after the initial round of Oxford/AstraZeneca or Pfizer can increase protection to 70-75 per cent against symptomatic infection.

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As per a report by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), people have lower level of protection against the Omicron variant if they have received two doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine nearly 25 weeks or more.

Experts have claimed that protection against symptomatic Omicron variant after two jabs of Covid vaccine could only be 10 per cent. However, the figure is being mulled upon as the number of people studied was relatively smaller.

The UKHSA has warned the government that the Omicron variant can be more dominant than the Delta variant in the UK by mid-December.

This warning comes at a time when the UK reported 58,194 new Covid cases on Friday, which is the highest number of daily infections since January 09. The daily Covid-related deaths were reported to be 120. Out of the 58,194 infections, 448 cases were of Omicron variant, taking the total tally of new variant cases to 1,265 in the UK.

"The key point is that under a range of plausible scenarios, stringent action is needed on or before 18 December 2021 if doubling times stay at 2.5 days. Even if doubling times rise to around 5 days, stringent action is likely still needed in December," the report, seen by the Guardian, reads. "The rapid spread of Omicron means that action to limit pressures on the health system might have to come earlier than intuition suggests.”

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