Effectiveness Of Vaccines Against Omicron, omicron spike protein
December 22 – No known ICU admissions due to Omicron in Ontario yet, translation – none of the millions of unvaccinated Ontarians had serious effects from Omicron. – the vaccine did not stop transmission and was was not needed for side effects.
by Jamie Roy
Global affairs have been chaotic ever since Covid exploded onto the scene last year. The virus continues to spread globally at a blistering pace, killing millions of people while permanently affecting the health of millions of others, and still the cure remains elusive. Its appearance early last year prompted researchers and scientists to come up with vaccines that could be administered to the public to battle against the virus. Scientists were forced to rush the vaccine development because of a growing need, prompting many to question its safety.
While the vaccine’s is somewhat effective when dealing with the earliest variants alpha, beta, gamma, there are doubts about its effectiveness on omicron, spawned recently from four fully vaccinated travelers in South Africa. This is especially worrying for many when booster shots for the virus are being rolled out to increase immunity. A number of countries have created vaccine mandates for healthcare workers and even for the elderly at senior home care facilities. But exactly what does the research say about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against the Omicron variant of the disease?
What exactly is the Omicron variant?
The standard coronavirus disease that we know of consists of the eponymous protein spike. Over time, this protein spike has mutated to various degrees and that has led to many different variants. The Omicron variant is one such mutation first identified in South Africa between 14-16 November 2021. Since then, there have been thousands of Omicron variants detected globally.
The Omicron variant produces symptoms similar to previous variants but what makes it stand out is its transmissibility and the decreased effectives vaccines have against it. These issues have led some people to question the viability of vaccines as a way to combat the disease. Research suggests that this new variant can cause further infections because it transmits at such a rapid rate. However, there is no evidence to support this because the new variant is still too recent. The next section will look at what the research says about vaccine effectiveness.
What does the research say?
While there is not enough research to make a definitive claim, the current research results are not encouraging. Researchers at the University of Oxford analyzed the effectiveness of the vaccine against the Omicron variant by analyzing blood samples of vaccinated individuals. These individuals had received the standard two doses of various types of vaccine. According to the research, these individuals showed a remarkable decrease in their antibodies count. Antibodies are necessary to battle against the virus.
Another research conducted by researchers from the University of California supports this result. They found a 30% drop in antibody counts against the vaccine, a staggeringly low number than the other variants. Although a third booster may increase this number to about 48%, this is still lower than the other variants. For reference, the Delta variant effectiveness was about 87%. This research found that the vaccine did absolutely nothing against the variant for some participants. All this suggests that the vaccine’s effectiveness against the Omicron variant may be lacking.
The Bottom Line
Sars-cov-2 is concerning for people the world over, and its existence is undeniable. However, with so many new variants like the Omicron one appearing, is the effectiveness of vaccines still something to be relied upon? Research suggests that the vaccines currently are not up to par with regards to Omicron.
Yet, governments still prioritize these vaccines, leading people to question their credibility. Is this just a political agenda? Is there a need for another more reliable cure? Maybe researchers and scientists need to go back to the drawing board and develop a better vaccine that can truly deal with the significantly changing disease.