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We nonetheless do not know sufficient in regards to the Omicron variant to panic

What we don’t know: Amid all of the panic, it’s vital to keep in mind that we nonetheless know little or no in regards to the new variant—and we’ve been frightened earlier than about variants which have come to nothing. The essential questions are whether or not it will increase transmissibility, whether or not it worsens well being outcomes (thus pushing up deaths and hospitalizations), and, crucially, whether or not it erodes immunity afforded by vaccines or earlier infections. We don’t have agency solutions to any of those questions but—though it appears seemingly, given the mutations, that it’s going to have an effect on the effectiveness of vaccines to a point.

If that’s the case, then vaccine producers should transfer shortly to provide you with new variations. Fortunately, with mRNA know-how it’s comparatively straightforward to reformulate a vaccine. Moderna’s chief medical officer, Paul Burton, told the BBC on Sunday that his agency might have a brand new booster—one tweaked to deal with omicron—able to roll out as quickly as early subsequent yr.

Researchers around the globe are actually racing to assemble the info we have to understand how frightened we ought to be. We additionally don’t know precisely how omicron arose. Specialists have lengthy warned that uneven world vaccine entry—South Africa, the place omicron appears to have originated, has a vaccination fee of 35{69439eabc38bbe67fb47fc503d1b0f790fcef507f9cafca8a4ef4fbfe163a7c5}—poses a worldwide threat as a result of it provides the virus extra alternatives to mutate.

What you are able to do: As has been the case all through the pandemic, the perfect factor you and your family members can do to guard yourselves is to get vaccinated. In case you are provided a booster shot, take it. Whereas it’s attainable that omicron may degrade vaccine efficacy, it received’t eradicate it altogether.

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