There were many worries about Omicron when it was first discovered. It was worried that it would be more transmissible, and it is. It was worried that it would be more deadly – it’s too early to tell. And it was worried that it would be able to evade vaccines – a number of studies have emerged on this.
The study, carried out by the Africa Health Research Institute, also found that those who had been both infected by COVID-19 and infected had more protection against Omicron.
Omicron is also between five and 10 times better at evading the vaccine than the Beta variant, one that also originated in South Africa.
Despite not being quite as good at evading the vaccine as previous variants such as Beta, scientists still think that Omicron has an immune escape advantage over other variants.
There is one major caveat to this study, in that the sample of vaccinated people was just 12.
As a result, further, larger scale studies need to be conducted in order to confirm the South African study’s figures.
There is no news so far of how effective the Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines are against the variant.
Even this small study scale shows that Omicron’s impact on the vaccine is significant.
The less effective the vaccine, the less protection the wider population has against the virus.
It is because of the rising number of Omicron cases in the UK, combined with its increased transmissibility, that some restrictions have been put back in place.
This includes mask wearing and mandatory PCR tests for those returning from abroad.
If Omicron continues to spread and result in more pressure being placed on the NHS, the worry is that we may have to lockdown.
This would mean all parties, even those with cheese and wine, would be cancelled.