Vaccines against Omicron are still effective, says WHO chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan

Vaccines are still effective against Omicron, says WHO chief scientist

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said that there are also biological factors that will determine the effectiveness of the vaccine


The WHO senior scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, stressing that the Omicron variant infects both vaccinated and unvaccinated people around the world, said vaccines appear to be still proving to be effective because although the numbers are increasing exponentially in many countries, the severity of the disease has not set new levels achieved.

“As expected, T-cell immunity holds up better against #Omicron. This protects us from serious illnesses. Please get vaccinated if you don’t, ”Ms. Swaminathan said in a tweet on Wednesday. Either vaccines or previous infections with COVID-19 will trigger a human T cell response.

To explain the factors responsible for the effectiveness of the vaccine against COVID-19, Ms. Swaminathan practically said at the WHO press conference on Wednesday that the effectiveness of the vaccine varies a bit between vaccines, despite the majority of all WHO vaccines -Emergency list actually very high rates of protection from serious illness and death, at least up to the Delta variant.

She also said that there are biological factors that will determine a vaccine’s effectiveness. “It encompasses age, underlying diseases and we know and have proven it with all variants that the older you are, the more underlying diseases and comorbidities, the more susceptible you are to the disease,” she said.

Regarding the third factor that determines the effectiveness of the vaccine, Ms. Swaminathan said, “It is the time since vaccination and the waning of immunity and we know there is some importance, but again, infection is increasing against infectious diseases. “And because of this, we are now seeing a lot of breakthrough infections, especially at Omicron, as Omicron has the ability to overcome pre-existing immunity and require higher levels of antibodies and protection.”

In addition, she said that now the evidence for Omicron is just emerging and it would be premature to conclusively conclude, but all laboratory studies indicate a reduction in neutralization capacity and it is also clinically seen that people who have been vaccinated are people who have already had an infection, Omicron will still have breakthrough infections.

“That is why the numbers we see around the world today are extremely high as these infections occur in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. However, it seems that vaccines are still proving protective because while the number is increasing exponentially in many countries, the severity of the disease has not risen to new levels, “she added.

Stressing the need for ventilation during hospital admissions and even within hospital patients, Ms. Swaminathan added the need for intensive care which does not appear to increase proportionally, adding that this is a good sign and tells us that prior immunity is due either through vaccines or in some cases due to a natural infection with the virus provides some protection from the serious illness.

“And that’s what we expected because immunity, immune responses are much more than just neutralizing antibodies,” she added.

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