Wednesday, January 19

WHO says Omicron variant causes infections in people already vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the Omicron variant is reported to be causing infections in people that are already vaccinated or who have recovered from the Covid-19 disease as they could be re-infected.

This is as it said that there is now consistent evidence that the Omicron variant is spreading significantly faster than the Delta variant as Covid-19 continues to account for about 50,000 deaths globally every week.

This disclosure was made by the Director-General of the WHO, Ghebreyesus, while speaking to journalists at the agency’s Headquarters in Geneva.

What the Director-General of WHO is saying

Ghebreyesus said, “There can be no doubt that increased social mixing over the holiday period in many countries will lead to increased cases, overwhelm health systems and more deaths.

All of us are sick of this pandemic. All of us want to spend time with friends and family. All of us want to get back to normal.

“The fastest way to do that is for all of us – leaders and individuals – to make the difficult decisions that must be made to protect ourselves and others.’’

According to NAN, the WHO boss said that delaying or cancelling events was the responsible thing to do in the present circumstance.

He said, “An event cancelled is better than a life cancelled. It’s better to cancel now and celebrate later, than to celebrate now and grieve later.

“None of us want to be here again in 12 months’ time, talking about missed opportunities, continued inequity, or new variants.’’

The director general emphasised that for the pandemic to end in 2022, “we must end inequity, by ensuring 70 per cent of the population of every country is vaccinated by the middle of next year.”

Ghebreyesus had reminded journalists that just a month ago, Africa was reporting its lowest number of Covid-19 cases in 18 months, however, it reported the fourth highest number of cases in a single week so far.

What you should know

The WHO had said that the Omicron variant, which has spread to over 89 countries, is successfully evading some immune responses, meaning that the booster programmes being rolled out in many countries ought to be targeted towards people with weaker immune systems

Amid growing concern over Omicron, many governments are scrambling to roll out vaccine booster shots to populations, with early data suggesting that a third dose offers increased protection against the variant.

But the WHO has repeatedly voiced concern that such booster programmes could deepen already glaring inequity in vaccine access between wealthy and poorer countries.

Many vulnerable people around the world are still waiting for a first vaccine dose, and the UN health agency has said it is better to prioritise them over providing fully vaccinated health adults with boosters.