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Covid Omicron: Can I Get It Again After Having Recovered

“Until now, vaccines have proven to be very good at preventing severe disease,” says one expert. And 6 other questions about the variant that spreads rapidly around the world!!!

On Monday, January 10, the United States reported a record 1.35 million new infections, the highest daily number of any country, according to data from the Reuters agency.

And on Wednesday, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported that due to omicron, covid-19 infections in the Americas almost doubled in the last week.

1. Why is the omicron variant so contagious?

According to epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical lead for covid-19, there are three main reasons:

  • This variant of the virus developed mutations that allow it to adhere more easily to human cells.
  • We have “escape immunity”. That is, people can be reinfected even if they have had the disease before or have been vaccinated.
  • Omicron replicates in the upper respiratory tract, making it easier for the virus to spread, unlike delta and other variants that replicate mostly in the lower respiratory tract; that is, the lungs.

The Covid Vaccine Hub portal indicates that it is difficult to estimate how transmissible omicron is compared to other variants, but that some estimates from the UK Health Security Agency indicate that it may be between two and more than three times more contagious. than delta.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the United States (CDC, for its acronym in English) indicate that “it is likely” that omicron spreads more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2, but that “it is not yet known” how easy it spreads compared to the delta.

The CDC indicates that anyone infected with omicron can spread the virus, even if they are vaccinated or have no symptoms.

2. What are the symptoms?

According to the Zoe Covid Symptom Study, led by Tim Spector, an epidemiologist at King’s College London, so far it is known that the most common symptoms of the omicron variant are:

  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Fatigue (mild or severe)
  • sneezing
  • Throat pain

The National Health Service of the United Kingdom (NHS, for its acronym in English) indicates that we must continue to monitor the classic symptoms of covid:

  • Continuous and sudden cough
  • Fever or high temperature
  • Loss or change in taste and smell

3. Does Omicron cause less severe disease than the delta variant?

The CDC says more data is needed to know if infection with omicron causes less severe or fatal disease compared to other variants.

Some indicators, however, point to the fact that in some cases omicron can cause milder symptoms, but can still cause hospitalization and death, especially in people who are not vaccinated.

On December 31, the UK Health Security Agency published a report showing that people infected with omicron were one-third as likely to end up in hospital compared to those infected with delta.

On the portal of the Department of Public Health Sciences of the University of California Davis, the epidemiologist Lorena García indicates that the symptoms of omicron can be very different between vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

“In those who are fully vaccinated and on booster doses, symptoms tend to be mild. On the other hand, if a person is not vaccinated, the symptoms can be quite severe. and lead to hospitalization or even death,” says García.

The WHO has warned that omicron should not be viewed as a mild disease.

“While omicron appears to be less severe compared to delta, especially in vaccinated people, that does not mean it should be classified as mild,” WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned in early January.

“Like previous variants, omicron is causing hospitalizations and killing people.”

4. Do vaccines work against omicron?

People with two doses remain protected against hospitalization, even if they have lost some protection against infection, according to Ignacio López-Goñi, professor of microbiology at the University of Navarra, Spain, in an article published on December 28. in The Conversation.

A study from MIT and Harvard University published on January 7 indicates that two doses of Pfizer or Moderna “do not produce antibodies capable of recognizing and neutralizing the omicron variant” but that “a booster dose dramatically improves protection against omicron.”

Andrew Lee, professor of public health at the University of Sheffield, England, says data shows that two doses of Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines offer limited protection against omicron, but that protection is quickly restored with a booster dose. , as explained in an article in The Conversation on January 5.

Lee also points out that it is normal for some inoculated people to get omicron since the vaccines are not designed to prevent infection but to reduce the chances that someone who has been infected will develop a serious illness or die.

“Until now, vaccines have proven to be very good at preventing severe disease,” says Lee.

The CDC indicates that “the emergence of omicron emphasizes the importance of getting vaccinated and taking the booster dose.”

On January 11, a WHO panel indicated that COVID-19 vaccines may need to be updated to ensure they are effective against new variants such as omicron.

5. If I have already had covid or have already been vaccinated, is it possible for me to get the omicron variant?

A report from Imperial College London on December 17, which is still under review, shows that omicron has a strong ability to evade immunity from the previous infection.

The document estimates that the risk of re-infection with omicron is 5.4 times higher than with delta.

The protection against reinfection by omicron provided by a past infection may be as low as 19%, the study indicates.

Regarding vaccines, Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Vaccine Research Group at the Mayo Clinic in the US, indicates that the protection they offer against omicron decreases over time.

“If you get two doses of the vaccine, after at least three months your protection against infection or hospitalization drops to about 30% to 40%,” Poland says on the Mayo Clinic website.

Poland indicates that with the booster dose immunity can be between 75% and 80%.

“Notice I didn’t say 100%,” warns Poland. “That’s why we still wear masks. That’s why we still keep our distance.”

Leonard S. Prater

I am an Addicted Internet Explorer who is working as a freelancer. I am living in Indiana, a Beautiful city of United. I am promoting for

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