Omicron news: Fauci says new variant may evade vaccine protection, but COVID-boosted vaccine helps

“Serious news”, omicron may evade the initial protections that the original vaccine provided, but boosters increase efficiency and provide better protection against the latest variant of interest, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday.

The White House’s chief medical adviser told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos “This week,” so, “If you want optimal protection, go for boosters absolutely,” he said.

Omicrons are highly infectious, which Fauci says is easy to see as delta and omicron variants compete for dominance. In the United States, the national seven-day average COVID-19 case rate has increased 12% and hospitalizations have increased 11%, according to ABC’s COVID-19 Tracker.

Fauci said there are 60 million eligible Americans who have not been vaccinated, and about 100 million who are eligible for boosters. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, 60.7% of the US population is fully immunized, and about 26% of people in the country – more than 50 million people – have received a booster dose.

THAN: How serious is Omicron? Expert says the variant’s 50 mutations could be its downfall

The omicron variant was discovered in southern Africa last month and is considered a “variant of interest” by experts. Early anecdotal data has shown that most people with the new variant have mild disease, but the main consensus among experts is that it is too early to say what the long-term effects will be.

“The severity seems to be maybe a little less than in the plains. But there’s a lot of confounding issues there,” Fauci told Stephanopoulos. “It could be due to potential protection in the community from previous infections, but these are preliminary data that we will have to monitor carefully to confirm them.”

Given the transmission advantage of omicrons and the ability to evade protection, Stephanopoulos pressed Fauci on whether the three-shot vaccine regimen would become the standard of care – something he has yet to declare. . But while the official requirements are still two doses of the mRNA vaccine and one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, booster shots are “optimal care,” Fauci said.

However, Stephanopoulos points out, the World Health Organization says boosters will exacerbate inequalities in global vaccine distribution and demand richer countries stop using boosters. The main concern is that some people are getting multiple doses, while people in other countries have yet to get their first shot.

“It’s an understandable concern, but it’s not really valid if you do both,” Fauci replied. “We’re vaccinating our country right now, we’re going to promote as many people as we can. But you can also give doses to developing countries at the same time.”

According to Fauci, the US has provided “more than 300 million doses to more than 100 countries.” The US has pledged to give up “1.1 billion doses” and has provided more support “than all other countries combined”.

After nearly two years of lockdown, the cover-up and consistent news coverage of the longevity of the pandemic — Fauci said annual boosters are a possibility — some people are feeling “pandemic fatigue.” Touching on that, Stephanopoulos asks Fauci if there are any signs of hope he sees this holiday season.

“Well, we have the tools to protect ourselves,” Fauci said. With vaccination, “We can go a long way to getting through this cold winter, which is clearly always accompanied by a spike in respiratory illnesses.”

And cases are increasing. In New York, while immunization rates per 100,000 people have increased by 68% in the past seven days, cases have skyrocketed, prompting Governor Kathy Hochul to say a statewide mask-wearing mandate would be in place. in Monday. The Commission requires that masks be worn indoors in public places and businesses, unless proof of vaccination is available.

There’s also the fatigue – and objection – associated with masks, which Fauci alludes to when talking about tools to stay safe.

“Masks won’t be forever, but it can get us out of a very difficult situation right now,” Fauci added.

Low immunization rates among young children may contribute to the predicament. Stephanopoulos gives statistics that to date, less than a fifth of eligible children have been vaccinated.

Fauci spoke directly to parents saying, “if your kids are 5 years old or older, get them vaccinated. We need to protect them. The idea that children are not vulnerable. There’s no point in getting hurt.”

Fauci said that while children with COVID-19 usually do not experience severe symptoms, “more than 2 million children aged 5 to 11 have been infected”. “There have been more than 8,000 to 9,000 hospitalizations and more than 100 deaths. So it’s not only good for the children’s health, but it also prevents the spread in the community.”

“And that is why we encourage parents to get their children vaccinated,” concludes Fauci.

Copyright © 2021 ABC News Internet Ventures. Omicron news: Fauci says new variant may evade vaccine protection, but COVID-boosted vaccine helps

Dais Johnston

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