Omicron variant may push Covid to endemic stage but vaccinations still vital: Delhi doctor

The doctor's statement comes days after the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that it is not possible to end the Covid-19 virus as such viruses never go away and end up becoming part of the ecosystem

Livemint
First Published21 Jan 2022
A girl reacts as she receives a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine
A girl reacts as she receives a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine(ANI)

The Omicron variant of coronavirus may induce enough immunity in people to push Covid-19 towards being an endemic disease, said a doctor from the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital on Friday. 

However, he pointed out that it may not be enough to protect against the Delta or Alpha variants, and hence, vaccinations and boosters should not be ignored. 

“Omicron has been widespread and may induce so much immunity that it may stay endemically, like influenza. But this immunity might not be sufficient to protect us from Delta or Alpha. So, vaccination and boosters should not be undermined,” said Dr Dhiren Gupta, senior paediatrics pulmonologist at SGRH, was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

Gupta's statement comes days after the World Health Organisation (WHO) said that it is not possible to end the Covid-19 virus as such viruses never go away and end up becoming part of the ecosystem.

However, it pointed out that what needs to be done is to ensure a really low level of disease incidence with the maximum vaccination of the entire world population.

"That will be the end of the public health emergency in my view and that would be an end to this pandemic," said Michael Ryan, WHO's health emergencies programme executive director.

In addition to this, experts have also warned against the notion that the Covid-19 pandemic becoming endemic would mean the disease was no longer dangerous.

"With the increase of immunity in population -- and with Omicron, there will be a lot of natural immunity taking place on top of vaccination -- we will be fast moving towards a scenario that will be closer to endemicity," Marco Cavaleri, head of vaccine strategy at the European Medicines Agency (EMA). 

But he stressed that "we should not forget we are still in a pandemic", noting the huge burden on healthcare from the surge in Omicron.

Further, scientists have warned that Omicron’s whirlwind advance practically ensures it will not be the last version of the coronavirus to worry the world.

Experts do not know what the next variants will look like or how they might shape the pandemic, reported news agency AP, but they say there is no guarantee the sequels of Omicron will cause milder illness or that existing vaccines will work against them.

 

 

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