Omicron threat triggers third wave fear, unvaccinated children worry experts

By: Afaq Bhat
Srinagar: Emergence of new COVID-19 variant, Omicron has sent the alarm bells ringing. It means that third wave of pestilence has arrived.
After the cases of Omicron were reported in Karnataka, the administration in Kashmir has geared up to contain the spread of new variant in the Valley. The administration has directed the Health Department to conduct RTPCR test of all international travelers upon their arrival at the Airport here. After the samples are collected the travelers will be sent to administrative quarantine either government or private as per their choice. The administrative quarantine centres have been established at Marriage Hall Sanat Nagar, Abi Hayat Hotel Boulevard and other private facilities.  “The administration has taken the preemptive measures to ensure that things don’t go out of control,” said an official.
After the surfacing of Omicron threat experts are studying its nature. Some are suggesting that it may overcome the immunity acquired by the people due to vaccines but the severity will be less. The new variant may also evade immunity acquired from prior infection.
The study based on data collected through South Africa’s health system on about 2.8 million confirmed COVID-19 infections between March 2020 and 27 November, 2021 including 35,670 suspected re-infections has revealed that re-infection risk profile of Omicron is substantially higher than that associated with the beta and delta variants that appeared during the second wave.
The study claimed that those who had COVID-19 could get sick again with the new variant but vaccine still appears to offer protection against severe disease. The experts are of the opinion that the people who are unvaccinated should get the vaccine and those who have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine should get the booster shot.
Another worrying factor that has come to fore is about the risk factor among children who have not been vaccinated yet. The reports suggest that in South Africa where Omicron variant is now a dominant strain, there has been increase in hospital admissions among young kids. Some experts are of the opinion that lack of vaccination among children could be one of the reasons for increase in hospitalization cases.
Most adults have been vaccinated but children have not been included in the vaccination drive yet. In the past children were not affected severely by the Covid pandemic. But the reports emanating from South Africa are disturbing. Getting children vaccinated will help them fight Covid in a better way and can also save them from getting infected severely.


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