Booster Shots – Proven Highly Effective in Preventing Omicron-related Hospitalizations


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The discovery of the Omicron variant in late 2021 dampened hopes that the covid-19 pandemic was almost at an end. The emergence and worldwide spread of the Omicron variant have been an indication that while most countries have stepped up vaccinations and booster shots, Covid-19 is still posing a significant threat and may continue to do so for a while.

Even as vaccines like Moderna and Pfizer offer hope that life will eventually go back to normal, all of us may still have a long way to go before being out of this pandemic. This is because as the virus keeps mutating, the efficacy of existing vaccines may not be enough to curb the spread of new mutations of the Covid-19 virus.

Impact of the Pandemic on Mental Health

For most people, the Covid-19 pandemic has not just been a threat to physical health but has also taken a serious toll on mental health. Apart from the uncertainty and fear of getting sick or losing a loved one to Covid-19, disruption of lifestyles has been one of the major stressors wrought by covid. People have increasingly become more isolated and some are still trying to adjust to the new normal that has been necessitated by Covid-19.

Mental distress during the pandemic has been found to be increasing with most people experiencing higher levels of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. This means that even if measures were taken to combat the new Omicron variant, addressing mental health issues remains a key part of this fight. Remedies that may help ease stress and anxiety such as medical marijuana from the popular pineapple express strain in UK may come in handy for people having to deal with chronic stress due to the pandemic.

Staying Safe from the Omicron Variant

Vaccines such as Pfizer and Moderna have been found to decrease the severity of Covid-19 leading to fewer hospitalizations. However, while these vaccines were effective against variants like Delta, do they have the same level of efficacy against Omicron?

Research has shown that the genetic changes in the Omicron variant may make it less susceptible to the existing vaccines. However, the CDC indicates that getting a booster shot for Covid-19 is up to  90% effective at preventing omicron hospitalizations. CDC data confirms recent findings by researchers and public health officials who have indicated that getting three doses of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine is so far the best protection against the omicron variant.

A study by the CDC found that adults over 65 who are not vaccinated are up to 49 times more susceptible to severe Covid-19 infection compared to those in the same age group who have been vaccinated and received a booster shot. This means that while there is still a risk of breakthrough infections in people who are vaccinated, the risk is significantly lower and the severity of the infection is also much lower.

It is important to note that so far only mRNA vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna have been found to offer protection against the Omicron variant. Vaccines from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Sinopharm have not shown efficacy against the Omicron variant according to a December 19, 2021, report by the New York Times.

Dr. David Dowdy, associate professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, notes that vaccines may have nuanced effects on Covid-19 transmission but they are still the best form of protection against Covid-19.

Conclusion

Covid-19 is a highly transmissible virus and researchers have found that the Omicron variant may be even more transmissible than variants like Delta. Like in most other diseases, prevention is almost always the best form of protection against Covid-19. This means that simple preventive measures are required just like wearing masks, sanitizing regularly and observing social distancing help reduce the transmission of the virus. This means that masking up and social distancing are still important measures if the rate of infections in the population are to be systematically reduced in order to limit the possibility of further mutations.


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