As we are entering the most beautiful period of the year and more family gatherings are expected in the next couple of days, the recently discovered fast-spreading Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus has become the major variant across the country accountable for the highest percentage of new Covid-19 cases in the last few days.
Country’s leading health officials continue to ask Americans to get vaccinated as soon as possible, but they now upped their ‘game’ claiming that booster doses of the vaccines seem to be the best thing one can do to build strong immunity and be safe against the Omicron variant. Those who are still unvaccinated are asked to get their first shots immediately.
The studies about the Omicron are still in very early stages and not much is known about the variant so far. One thing is for sure, Omicron has more than 30 mutations meaning that it evades both the natural and vaccine immunity much easier. That’s the reason why Omicron is spreading so fast and already became responsible for majority of the recent Covid-19 cases in America.
As we are entering the holiday season amid rising number of Covid-19 cases in almost every single state, the risk of potential new winter wave after the holidays seems more than a likely scenario. According to the experts, the major reason for additional spread of the virus are the holiday family gatherings and we all remember very well what happened last year during and after the holidays, when the country experienced the worst Covid-19 wave since the start of the pandemic.
So, why should we worry about new Covid-19 wave when the country has one of the highest Covid-19 vaccination rates in the world? According to Dr. Anthony Fauci in his interview with Washington Post’s Frances Stead Sellers earlier this month, the ‘antibodies that were tested against this new virus variant, the Omicron, the two shots that you get from an mRNA vaccine, the degree of protection has gone down considerably.’
Understandably, a decent number of the fully vaccinated people now feel angry because the vaccines that were promised to work, are not delivering the expected protection against the deadly virus just months after they received their second dose. Although two doses of the vaccines probably won’t keep you safe from getting infected, Fauci claims that the vaccine still offer amazing protection against hospitalization and death, Fauci explained.
Additionally, for those who want to be completely safe against the Omicron variant and potentially more protected to future variants of the virus, Fauci said that booster doses of the current mRNA vaccines are delivering exceptional protection as he urges the fully vaccinated to get their third, booster dose as soon as possible.
“The somewhat encouraging news, and perhaps even good news, is that when you look at the level of protection, at least from a laboratory parameter, that you get when you get a third shot boost, and even some protection that you may get against severe disease with just two shots, it really is quite good. In fact, the booster shot could be the answer to the challenge that we’re facing with the omicron,” Fauci added on boosters.
Just like numerous other health officials and experts, Fauci is concerned how the upcoming holiday period and family gatherings will affect the pandemic in the next couple of weeks, especially in January. According to Fauci, the behavior of the people during the holidays will set the direction of the pandemic in the next several weeks, maybe months. That said, everyone should be responsible during this period, but Fauci goes even further, asking Americans to consider requiring their family relatives and friends to show proof of vaccination before the planned gatherings.
“You’re with your family. You have grandparents and parents and children. When you get vaccinated and you have a vaccinated group and you are in an indoor setting, you can enjoy, as we have traditionally over the years, dinners and gatherings within the home with people who are vaccinated,” Fauci said.
“And that’s the reason why people should, if they invite people over their home, essentially ask and maybe require that people show evidence that they are vaccinated, or give their honest and good faith word that they have been vaccinated. So, vaccinated puts you in a much different position than the extreme vulnerability of people who are not vaccinated,” he concluded.