Several studies have shown that the new variant Omicron has successfully invaded vaccine immunity in many patients; even though this indicates that the vaccine efficacy is coming down with time and against new variants, it is good to know that vaccines can prevent severe outcomes. In a majority of vaccinated individuals, the risk of getting admitted to hospitals reduced by a considerable margin in the third wave of the pandemic. Not only that, the need for critical care and ventilator was also very less among vaccinated individuals.
CDC Studies Indicate Booster Shots Needed Against Omicron
Yet another interesting point to come out of recent studies is that the booster dose has successfully protected people against Omicron. The study was done in ten states across the US, and the hospitalization data were analyzed to arrive at conclusions. It showed that the protection reduced to nearly 82% after two doses of vaccines in the third wave of the pandemic. If the second dose was taken six months earlier, the protection was even less in some cases. However, getting a third dose increased the protection to nearly 90%.
The mortality rate was also considered, and recent data indicate that vaccinated individuals with the booster dose have the highest protection against Omicron in this situation. As those individuals with only two shots showed lesser protection against the new variant, experts feel that it is a good idea to go with the booster dose to get added protection.
As of now, elders, people at high risk for Covid, and health care workers are eligible to get booster shots in the US. However, it will be soon available for all individuals above the age of 12 when supply constraints are eased. Several people across the country are yet to receive their first dose of vaccine. There is some amount of vaccine hesitancy still left among people, and it has to go away to keep the pandemic under control.
Health experts have indicated that Covid will become like any other seasonal virus, and we may have to take vaccines regularly. In this situation, experts are working towards combining the covid vaccine with flu shots in the future. In this way, people can get protection against multiple viruses with one shot of the vaccine.
There is a shortage of test kits across the country due to the Omicron surge. The federal government passed legislation to provide free at-home test kits to individuals across the country. The demand for test kits is at its peak, and manufacturers are churning out millions of test kits every week to meet the demand. The cost of test kits is slightly high at retail outlets and pharmacies due to the shortage of supplies. However, the government is set to provide such test kits for free, and deliveries are set to begin next week.
This can help many people to test themselves at home and stay safe if they are infected. The good thing about Omicron is that the symptoms are relatively less and the need for hospitalization is also less when compared to Delta and other variants. Most people can rest for a few days at home and recover from the symptoms.
The maximum number of patients in the ICU wards is those who have not taken any vaccine. This goes to show the benefits of taking vaccines to avoid infection. Even though Omicron is not so severe, thousands of people are still dying due to infection every week. There is no way we can completely avoid the pandemic without vaccinating every individual. In this regard, the government should improve the vaccination rate across the country.