In response to concerns about the newly found Omicron form, the government intends to administer a booster immunisation to every adult in England.
It’s the next step in the fight against Covid’s newly discovered Omicron strain as reported by BBC News.
Here are some of your latest questions on these, and other related matters:
Is one million boosters a day really achievable?
One million doses is a lofty goal. When the Covid vaccination was first introduced earlier this year, the jabbing rate was over 450,000 per day.
In order to meet the new goal, the Prime Minister has stated that family doctors will be able to postpone some of their other duties, such as normal medical appointments.
The military is also being called in to assist, and it is hoped that volunteer vaccine distributors will be recruited as well. There will also be more immunisation locations and longer hours of operation.
My booster was due at the end of November, but unfortunately, I caught Covid and was ill for three weeks. Is it true that the antibodies after having Covid are as protective as the vaccine?
Even if you’ve already taken Covid, you should still obtain your booster. According to experts, the vaccine is anticipated to produce a larger and more robust immune response than spontaneous infection.
Furthermore, preliminary research on the Omicron variety suggests that an extra dosage of vaccination can reduce the risk of developing any Covid symptoms by 75%.
While many Covid instances are minor, research suggests that catching Covid puts you at a much higher risk of being extremely ill, developing long-term problems, or dying than any of the vaccine’s rare side effects.
However, you must wait 28 days after testing positive for Covid – or 28 days following the onset of symptoms – before receiving a booster.
Do we still need to wait for an invitation before we book an appointment for a booster jab?
People over the age of 30 in England can schedule an appointment in advance and do not need to wait for an invitation.
The NHS is currently modernising its systems to allow adults aged 18 to 29 to make appointments, although this service is not yet operational.
“If there are huge lines or all slots have been booked,” the government notes, “people are encouraged to be patient and keep trying, or book online.”
People aged 30-39 in Scotland can now book boosters, with 18-29s expected to be able to do so later this week.
Boosters are now available at walk-in clinics in Northern Ireland for anyone aged 30 and up whose previous dose was given at least three months ago.
.Although some local health boards are giving walk-in sessions, people in Wales are being encouraged to wait for an invitation to obtain their booster.
Are over-70s who had an early booster jab months ago, still protected against the Omicron virus until next March onwards?
Scientists are still unsure how long the booster’s increased protection will endure.
Boosters were originally introduced in the UK in September, with the intention of providing extra protection to particular groups, such as the elderly and the clinically susceptible, over the winter, when Covid was projected to be most prevalent.
If you were vaccinated during this time period, you should still be protected, especially against severe Covid disease and the new Omicron form.
Is there any evidence that Omicron is any more harmful than any other variant?
Scientists who have examined the variation are concerned by what they’ve discovered in the lab. Omicron has the most mutations of any variety, and they’re all unique.
This could indicate that it is more contagious, causes more serious illness, and is more resistant to vaccinations than prior forms.
None of this, however, is certain. As cases are discovered and tracked around the world, it will take time to assess the true threat posed by Omicron.
How do I know if I have the new variant?
PCR testing, which is analysed in a lab, can discover suspected Omicron instances. Your local contact tracing system will call you if your Covid symptoms are suspected to be Omicron.
A suspected Omicron sample must be sent to a specialised lab for genomic sequencing to confirm its identity.
However, if you’re confident, you’ll be self-isolating by then. In addition, if you have suspected or confirmed Omicron, your household and close contacts must self-isolate, even if they are completely vaccinated, according to the new guidance.
Will the current lateral flow tests detect the Omicron variant?
As far as we know, fast or lateral flow tests that you may perform at home will be able to detect the Omicron variety, as well as other coronavirus variations.
They can’t tell you which variant you have; they can only tell you if you’re positive or negative.
Only a PCR test, which is examined in a lab, would be able to do this.
Why are we not vaccinating children above the age of five? I keep hearing of young children who have caught the virus.
The virus can infect young children, although they are unlikely to become very ill as a result. The majority of instances are minor, and children, especially young children, recover fast.
The UK has now recommended that children over the age of 12 receive two doses, although the UK regulator has yet to approve any Covid vaccination for children under the age of 12.
Even if this occurs, as it has in the United States, Canada, and a few other nations, the judgement is still out on whether it is worthwhile.
Vaccine consultants would have to be persuaded that the benefits of immunising young infants outweigh any potential hazards (however minor).
But, as the terror of Omicron grows, that calculation may change. Only time will tell.
Is there positive evidence that wearing ordinary masks, not N95 ones, actually makes a useful difference?
According to the evidence, Covid transmission is most common indoors, when people are close.
Coughs sneeze and speaking with one’s mouth and nose covered inhibits the spread of coronavirus droplets. Wearing one on a regular basis can help prevent viral spread from contagious patients who are asymptomatic.
Although there is some evidence that they also provide protection to wearers, the primary function is to safeguard others.
Masks should have a nose wire, at least two or three layers of material, and fit securely over the mouth, nose, and chin to be effective.
Standard surgical masks are also effective. FFP2 and FFP3/N95 masks, which are used by healthcare workers and provide greater protection, are available for purchase. However, in order for them to work, they must be properly installed.
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Source: BBC News