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COVID-19: Dr Swaminathan backs WHO-approved vaccines, avers booster provides protection

Written by corres2

Amid the rising concern over increased COVID-19 cases, World Health Organization Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan on Wednesday, December 29, backed the WHO-approved vaccines. Dr Swaminathan, while speaking about the Omicron variant of COVID-19, said that the WHO-approved vaccines have a very high rate of protection. However, she added that the Omicron variant is infecting both vaccinated and unvaccinated people worldwide.

WHO Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan has now stated that vaccines are still proving to be effective even though the numbers of fresh cases are going up exponentially across the world. She said that the severity of the disease has not surged to a new level, which shows promise. The health expert stated that the Omicron variant is infecting both vaccinated and unvaccinated people worldwide and said that more information about the new variant is still emerging.

Vaccination key to fight Omicron, says Dr Swaminathan

Dr Swaminathan urged everyone to get COVID-19 jabs even though vaccinated people and those who have had prior infections are still getting breakthrough infections of the new Omicron variant. “That is why the numbers that we are seeing around the world today are extremely high because these infections are occurring in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. However, it appears that vaccines are proving to be still protective because even though the numbers are going up exponentially in many countries severity of the disease has not surged to a new level,” she said.

She added that information received till now indicated that previously achieved immunity from vaccines or natural infections are more. “We have to wait and see how the virus affects unvaccinated people,” Dr Swaminathan said. Furthermore, the WHO scientist also stressed the importance of balancing the need for booster shots. “Many countries have started booster programs to supplement the immune response of the citizens. However, there are so many unvaccinated people. We have to balance the need for the booster doses,” she added.  

Booster doses are necessary but not for everyone, says WHO expert

Dr Swaminathan further stated that the WHO was recommending elderly citizens, people with weak immune systems, and people at high risk to consider taking booster shots. “This can only be done when the country has actually managed to vaccinate the highest group. Many countries are still not up to the 40 per cent mark. Not everyone needs the booster. An 18-year-old might not need a third dose whereas an 80-year-old in the same country will need one,” she said. The WHO scientist said there was an urgent need to speed up the primary vaccination program.

Furthermore, Dr Swaminathan said that the WHO was also pushing countries to share supplies of vaccines. She said that the extra vaccine doses used to vaccinate young people with strong immune response systems can be used for a weaker person elsewhere. The health expert noted that the vaccines if shared can cover the world to get fully vaccinated so that scientists can look at future moves.

Image: Twitter/ PTI




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COVID-19

India
Confirmed: 43,144,820Deaths: 524,525
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COVID-19

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