Scientists in Britain warn that two doses of coronavirus vaccine are not enough to prevent infection with the omicron variant.
Photo: EPA / LUONG THAI LINH
An initial analysis of cases of omicron and delta variants in the UK showed that the vaccine was less effective in planting a new strain. However, the third dose significantly increased protection, by about 75 percent.
The UK Health Security Agency has announced that the vaccine is still likely to provide good protection against a severe form of infection that would otherwise require hospital treatment. Concerns about the poorer effectiveness of the vaccine arose after the discovery of omicron, a mutated variant of the virus.
The scientists analyzed data from 581 cases of omicron infection and thousands of cases of delta infection to calculate how effective vaccines were against the new strain. The study showed a large decrease in the effectiveness of the AstraZeneca vaccine and a significant decrease in two doses of Pfizer. However, the third dose has increased protection against coronavirus symptoms by between 70 and 75 per cent, reports the BBC.
It is estimated that more than half of all newcomers to the UK will be infected with omicron by mid-December and that if this growth continues unabated, there will be more than one million infected by the end of this year.
These initial assessments should be taken with caution, but indicate that a few months after the second dose of the vaccine, there is a higher risk of omicron infection compared to delta. Scientists expect that vaccines will always show greater protection against serious complications and urge people to get vaccinated.