When the world entered into a lockdown after the discovery of what was soon to be the pandemic the world would grapple with, people were still optimistic about the outcomes and continue to be so, owing to the timely discovery of vaccines and proper implementation of Covid-19 protocols. However, a constant reason for worry have been the new and emerging strains or variants of the virus. With each new variant, the win over the virus, faces a minor setback, as doctors and scientists embark on a new journey to understand the same. While the previous protocols remain the same and the most efficient non-invasive way of keeping infections at bay, there are new studies every day to understand the new variants and thus the best way forward to treat and avoid the same. The latest variant of Covid-19, namely the Omicron variant, has been flagged by WHO as being potentially dangerous, owing to the unknown factors of mutation and infection and severity, all of which are yet to be studied fully. While the frontrunners on the war to defeat the virus are still working on charting the best way forward, a new concern on the minds of the people is the effectiveness of the vaccines against these new variants. While vaccination is still the best way forward to protect yourself and others against the deadly virus, the effects of the same on the recent variants are still being studied. However, some people have come forward to share their knowledge, understanding and findings about how and if these vaccines would be effective against the variants. Let’s read on to understand more about it.
WHO is conducting studies around the world with leading researchers and scientists to learn more about the transmissibility of the variant, the rate of infection, the possible treatments, the severity of symptoms and of course the effectiveness of the existing vaccines against the new variant. To understand more on this, we must first understand what the vaccines actually do. The modern day vaccines are developed to activate your body’s immune system to produce antibodies which will fight against virus exposure. For this to happen, usually a period of two to three weeks is needed after being fully immunized, that is getting all the recommended doses of your prescribed vaccine. While the researchers and scientists had limited time in terms of testing out the vaccines, initial reports and studies do suggest that the vaccines have been effective in keeping infections at bay and breaking the chain of infections. The effectiveness of the different vaccines vary on the higher end and preliminary studies have shown that vaccines along with the protocols can significantly reduce the risk of infection. Moreover, the initial studies also suggested that the severity of the symptoms have been shown to be significantly less in vaccinated people than unvaccinated people.
A new concern plaguing everyone around the world was the efficiency of these vaccines against the Omicron variant. While the initial research does suggest a low effectiveness against Omicron, it does establish that there is some protection against the variant in fully vaccinated people. As people around the world are gathering more and more data on the same, doctors are suggesting getting vaccinated to protect yourself against infections. They are also increasingly stressing on the importance of following all protocols like wearing a mask, washing hands and maintaining physical distance in order to better fight the virus. Some countries have also come forward to offer a third vaccine dose or a booster, to increase the efficiency of the vaccine against new variants. While sizable data is yet to be available, the initial reports do suggest an increased protection against the new variants with the third dose or booster dose.
While we wait for any conclusive results, health officials and doctors across the world are strongly suggesting the use of vaccines and urging people to get fully vaccinated, in order to protect themselves and their loved ones. This is in addition to following all public protocols like avoiding crowded places, maintaining social distance, washing hands and wearing masks in public places. With all of these in place and the continuous efforts of the frontline workers, doctors and scientists, the world is looking at a cautious but steady fight against the new variants. Do your bit to stay safe and keep others safe!