In a recent interview, BioNTech CEO says that booster doses won’t stop Omicron and even triple-vaccinated are likely to transmit the disease
It has been almost a month since America officially confirmed the first ever Omicron variant case in the country and since then, Omicron became the dominant strain in almost every single state until mid-December. Health officials and experts are concerned that we are at the beginning of a new, winter wave and the numbers are expected to literally explode in January.
Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus was discovered in Africa in November and all the ongoing studies about the strain are in their early stages. While everyone is waiting for additional results from those studies, Omicron spreads across the globe prompting governments to enforce new pandemic measures, from new travel restrictions to school closures.
What we know for the Omicron so far? Well, one thing is for sure, Omicron has more than 30 mutations which makes it easy for the virus to evade both natural and vaccine immunities meaning that everyone can get infected more or less, regardless of their vaccination or recovery status.
While vaccines are proven to work against the virus, especially in preventing severe condition leading to hospitalization or death, Omicron is perfect opportunity for antivaxxers to continue spreading misinformation for the vaccines. But they are definitely wrong. Although the efficacy of the vaccines wanes after some time, it still prevents developing severe conditions in most of the cases, even in immunocompromised patients.
What comes as a concerning factor with the Omicron variant in place, is the fact that Omicron much easier evades the immunity of those fully vaccinated. Chief Medical Advisor to the President of United States Dr. Anthony Fauci, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky and tens of other health experts and officials are urging people to get the booster shot as soon as they are eligible to in an effort to remain safe against the Omicron, claiming that boosters by far improve the immunity against the newly discovered variant.
But some still think that even three doses of the vaccines won’t be enough against Omicron. One of them is Ugur Sahin, the CEO of vaccine developer BioNTech who partners with Pfizer in developing and producing the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine, who says that COVID-19 vaccine shots won’t be enough to combat the omicron variant.
In an interview with French daily Le Monde few days ago, Sahin said that “we must be aware that even triple-vaccinated are likely to transmit the disease.”
“It is obvious we are far from 95 percent effectiveness that we obtained against the initial virus,” he added. He said that according to BioNTech, the “vaccine is now 70% to 75% effective against stopping COVID-19 infection.”
Sahin said vaccine efficacy has been dropping against omicron, which is a sign that the vaccines aren’t enough, according to Euro News.
“There will be a loss of effectiveness against Omicron over time, it’s very likely, but it’s still to be measured how quickly. I will not base predictions on preliminary laboratory data but on real-life data, which is much more appropriate,” Sahin said.
Sahin concluded that the company will continue to closely monitor the spread of the virus and act accordingly in maybe developing new vaccine or simply encourage yet another dose of the vaccines if the tests show that fourth dose will additionally increase immunity.
A recent study from researchers at Columbia University suggested that the omicron variant of COVID-19 is “markedly resistant” to the COVID-19 vaccines, antibody treatments and COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.
In a period when the new Covid-19 numbers are on the rise in America, the unvaccinated are urged to get their shot as soon as possible, while those fully vaccinated are strongly advised to get the booster shot once they become eligible. Meanwhile, all the other pandemic measures like wearing face mask, avoiding indoor gatherings and social distance are highly encouraged.