Mon, 08 August 2022
The Daily Ittefaq

Vaccine boosters won't stop Omicron surge, experts say

Update : 12 Jan 2022, 13:00

Despite efforts to increase uptake in many parts of world, vaccine boosters won't stop a fifth wave, says one of the top Indian government expert.

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 is "almost unstoppable" and everyone will eventually be infected with it.  ''It makes no difference. The infection will occur. It has occurred all over the world regardless of this", stated Dr. Jaiprakash Muliyil, epidemiologist and chairperson of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the National Institute of Epidemiology at the Indian Council of Medical Research.

Speaking to NDTV, he said "not a frightening disease anymore" as the new strain is milder and is leading to much less hospitalisation, he said that it's a disease we can deal with. ''... we are dealing with quite a different virus. It's much milder than Delta, as you all know, not only that, it is practically unstoppable.'' "Omicron presents itself just like the cold," he continued.

He said that 85% of the country was already infected before the vaccines were introduced in the country and hence, the first dose was essentially a booster dose. ''There is a philosophy world over that natural infection doesn't impart any lasting immunity. Now, that is a philosophy which I think is wrong," he added. 

Pointing out that no medical bodies suggested booster doses, Dr Muliyil said they won't stop the natural progression of the epidemic. Arguing the same against the testing of asymptomatic close contacts of Covid patients, he said the virus doubles infection in just two days, so even before the test detects its presence, the infected person has already spread it to a large number of people. " So even when you test, you are far far behind. It is not something that will make any difference in the evolution of the epidemic," he said.

According to Dr. Jaiprakash, "We have not suggested booster dose so far from any of the bodies of the government. To my knowledge, the precautionary dose was just suggested, because there are reports that certain people, mostly in the age group above 60, did not respond to two doses. A majority of us will not know we have been infected, probably more than 80% will not even know when we have it."

Jaiprakash said that precautionary dose is given for people with a high risk of "immunological non response". "Just because you have heart disease or diabetes, it doesn't usually mean immunological incompetence. On the other hand, some other conditions like people going for renal transplant, there is quite a lot immunological depression."

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