- Omicron, a new variant of corona virus spreading rapidly in Britain
- Two doses of AstraZeneca ‘failed’ against Omicron several months later
- Booster dose showed effect against Omicron, 76% effective
Millions of people in the UK are breathing unsafe and at risk of infection from the Omicron variant of the corona. A large number of people are competing to get a booster dose, while experts have warned that many people will not be able to get the vaccine until Christmas due to disturbances on the NHS booking site. A vaccine investigation has raised tension with the AstraZeneca vaccine, known as Covishield in India, found to be ineffective against Omicron a few months later. However, it is a matter of relief that the third dose of the vaccine i.e. the booster dose has proved effective against the new variant up to 76 percent.
According to the report of DailyMail, Omicron is rapidly spreading in the UK and in the next two weeks it may see an even more terrifying form. The UK Health Protection Agency has issued a warning saying that by the end of this month, cases of infection could reach 1 million. Fortunately, a booster dose of the vaccine has shown effectiveness against Omicron, but millions of people who have not yet received the third dose are at risk of infection. Government scientists compared 581 cases of Omicron in the UK to 56,000 cases in Delta to get an initial estimate of how well the vaccines protect against the new variants.
Vaccine efficacy drops to ‘zero’ after a few months
They found that most elderly people who had been given two doses of AstraZeneca several months earlier showed almost no protection against Omicron. The two Pfizer doses showed a little over 30 percent protection. But using Pfizer as the third dose was found to protect 71 percent of those originally taking the AstraZeneca vaccine and 76 percent of those taking both doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
Data on AstraZeneca not ‘reliable’
Experts estimate that the Pfizer booster dose provides 70 to 75 percent protection against mild omicron infections, regardless of which vaccine was originally used. On the other hand, it is 90 percent effective against Delta. In two doses, two doses of Pfizer can provide only 37 per cent protection after three and a half months, compared to 60 per cent against Delta.
Two doses of AstraZeneca have provided no protection after the same time period. But scientists have said that the data on AstraZeneca may be less reliable because it is restricted to certain age groups and was used early on for people in the close range of risk. Experts said it is disappointing that Omicron has weakened the existing vaccine to some extent.
Experts appealed for booster dose
Britain’s Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is being used in India’s vaccination campaign under the name Covishield, which is manufactured in India itself. Experts are appealing to people to get a booster dose. Omicron cases are doubling every three days in the UK. Health officials are worried about the upcoming Christmas when large numbers of people take to the streets to celebrate. People have been appealed to get tested and follow social distancing to avoid infection.