The first large study from South Africa says Omicron causes fewer serious illnesses than previous variants of the coronavirus.
However, the new variant is more resistant to the Pfizer vaccine, which is widely used in South Africa. This is the result of data based on 211,000 cases of coronavirus.
Less protection from infection, but good against severe disease
According to the study, conducted by the South African health insurance company Discovery Health, vaccination protects only 33 percent from infection. This value is well below the level of other variables that have been discovered in the country so far.
At the same time, the Pfizer vaccine offers 70 percent protection against serious complications that may require hospitalization.
Omikron poses a ‘very high’ risk
The study comes at a time when Omikron has become the dominant variety in South Africa. The World Health Organization warned on Monday that the Omikron variant, which has now been detected in 63 countries, poses “extremely high” risks worldwide.
The reduction in protection offered by two doses of the Pfizer vaccine against any symptomatic infection is similar to a pre-print study in the UK published late last week, of less than 40 per cent. However, the British study did not answer whether vaccination protection against serious diseases was reduced as much.
The South African data provide a preliminary indication that protection against critical illness has remained relatively stable at 70 percent. (Trap)
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