JAKARTADAILY.ID - Reuters reported on Tuesday (December 14, 2021), prior to giving booster shots to vulnerable groups, WHO Emergency Director Mike Ryan said getting an initial course of COVID-19 vaccines to unprotected groups should remain a top priority.
"We should be focusing on getting those who are unvaccinated vaccinated as quickly as possible and then being able to give booster doses to those in vulnerable groups," he said.
According to a major study, between November 15 and December 7, people who had received two or more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 shot had a 70 percent probability of avoiding hospitalization, suggesting it is less effective against the new Omicron variant compared to the 93 percent avoidance during the previous wave of Delta infections.
Furthermore, in terms of avoiding infection altogether, the Discovery Health study showed that protection from catching COVID-19 had dropped to 33 percent from the initial 80 percent.
Even if Omicron has a milder effect on patients, the rising wave of infection is likely to lead to a larger number of hospitalizations in the coming weeks. Ryan predicted that Omicron would probably replace Delta as the world's most prevalent variant. Therefore, governments should place greater emphasis on basic protective measures like mask wear and ensure hospitals are prepared to deal with the threats.
"Every single health system needs to get ready. We are going to likely to see a very large Omicron wave. We need to protect the health system, we need to protect those we love. It's not rocket science, everyone knows how to do it."