Covid-19 vaccination highly effective against Omicron variant claims South African disease expert

07:19 PM Nov 29, 2021 | FPJ Web Desk

A top South African infectious disease expert on Monday said that the existing Covid-19 vaccination doses which are being given to the people at this time should be highly effective against the new variant Omicron. The vaccination will also avoid the risk of death and even hospitalization, he said.

Professor Salim Abdool Karim, who served as the government's chief adviser during the initial response to the pandemic, also said it was too early to say whether Omicron led to more severe clinical symptoms than previous variants.


The expert further said that the new variant is likely to be more contagious and more likely to infect people with lower immunity.


"Based on what we know and how the other variants of concern have reacted to vaccine immunity, we can expect that we will still see high effectiveness for hospitalisation and severe disease, and that protection of the vaccines is likely to remain strong," Abdool Karim told at a news conference.

The latest variant of the Covid-19 named B.1.1.529 variant was first detected in South Africa earlier this week and it has taken the world by storm, many countries around the world, including India, have banned international travel from at least eight to ten southern African nations fearing Omicron.

World Health Organization on Monday warned that the new Covid-19 Omicron variant poses a "very high" risk globally, pressing that uncertainties remained about how infectious and dangerous the variant was.

Karim, who is a professor at South Africa's University of KwaZulu-Natal and Columbia University in the United States, said no "red flags" had been raised so far.

However, it was too early to draw firm conclusions, because doctors can only comment on patients who they treat. "There's not enough data yet," he said.

(with agency inputs)

Also Read: COVID-19 Alert: WHO warns risk related to Omicron variant 'very high'

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