Omicron Covid variant poses greater risk for the unvaccinated, former White House advisor says

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  • Former White House adviser Andy Slavitt says there is reason to believe that current vaccines are going to be “quite effective” in combating the effects of the Omicron strain.
  • He said the new strain poses a higher risk to non-vaccinated people.
  • Slavitt was a senior adviser to President Joe Biden’s coronavirus response team.

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A former White House adviser said on Monday that the new Omicron Covid variant poses a major risk to the unvaccinated and there is reason to believe that current vaccines are going to be “quite effective”.

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“What we know for sure is that it’s a dangerous variant for people who haven’t been vaccinated,” Andy Slavitt told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”

“What we have to learn is whether or not the omicron is — how it spreads in an environment where the delta is strong,” he said.

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Slavitt previously served as a senior adviser on President Joe Biden’s coronavirus response team and runs the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under the Obama administration.

What do we know about Omicron

According to the World Health Organisation, Delta, the type first detected in India, still accounts for most of the current COVID infections.

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The Omicron strain was first identified by scientists in South Africa and has been found in several countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany.

Health experts are concerned about the transmissibility of the Omicron type, because of its unusual constellation of mutations and profiles that differ from previous forms of anxiety. Scientists are also trying to find out how effective existing vaccines are in protecting people from any serious diseases caused by the new strain.

“I think we have good reason to believe that vaccines are effective, if not effective, and with boosters, they will be quite effective,” Slavitt told CNBC. “But pharma is also going back to the drawing board.”

COVID vaccine makers Pfizer, BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca said they are testing and testing the Omron version.

Slavit said it’s possible that updated vaccines will be available over the next several months, if necessary, before the Omicron variant spreads meaningfully.

But the main problem the world is facing is vaccine inequality. Information compiled by our world into data It has been shown that about 44% of the world’s population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. But only a small percentage of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose.

Slavit explained that it’s still too early to tell how much Omicron will fare compared to the deadly Delta strain.

“When we get to a point when we have a version that replaces Delta that isn’t serious or can be easily treated with medication, it will be a very new day for this pandemic.” We may be knocking on the wood, if it is not with Omicron, it could be next,” he said, adding that such a scenario could potentially turn Covid into the common cold.

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