Doctor Susan Hopkins, the Chief Medical Adviser, has warned that those who were double-jabbed from AstraZeneca will only have ‘minimal’ protection against the novel Omicron strain. Speaking on BBC One's Andrew Marr Show, she urged everyone in this category to come forward as a booster.
People who have had two doses of AstraZeneca will be inadequately protected against the new, difficult strain. A wave of infections could sweep through the UK in the coming months, potentially fuelling a spike in deaths. The variant has been doubling every two to three days, and a recent death has been reported as the first case from the Omicron variant.
Explaining that booster shots provide a 77 per cent vaccine effectiveness which helps to reduce the symptomatic infection in the community, she argued it is important to get booster shots. The UK Health Security Agency recently released new numbers showing the highest daily spike in Omicron cases in the UK since the variation was discovered. Dr Hopkins argued:
But what we’re seeing is that having had the (AstraZeneca) vaccine more than three months ago, with everyone who’s had AstraZeneca in that basket now, there’s minimal protection from the vaccine to prevent mild infection to the community.
Particularly for those people who have had AstraZeneca, they need to come forward.
A daily increase of 633 Omicron cases was recorded by the health watchdog yesterday, increasing the total number of cases to 1,898.
Omicron strain is still unpredictable
The first case of Omicron was discovered two weeks ago and as such, it is too early to say how the virus would dominate the UK this time. However, evidently, it is spreading at a higher speed than any other variant so far. Dr Hopkins argued:
We’re still in the early days of understanding Omicron and how it affects people. If you’ve had a prior infection or you’ve had vaccination, we would expect you to have less severe disease.
Hospitals are diagnosing more patients with the Omicron variant every day and the number is expected to increase as per the experts. Dr Hopkins confirmed:
It’s really important to remember, it’s been just over two weeks since we first detected cases in the United Kingdom.
Hospitalisations only start to be seen around two weeks, whereas deaths are typically seen at three to four weeks.