‘Don’t underestimate the potential of Omicron’

OMICRON may be milder than Delta but it still has the potential to be serious, director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink said yesterday as she again encouraged people to have their booster vaccine.

Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30253673)
Director of Public Health Dr Nicola Brink. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 30253673)

She said that Omicron’s mild reputation appeared to be one of several reasons why people were choosing not to get the third dose.

Public Health is encouraging all over-18s who are able to get their third jab to come forward.

So far about 75% have received a booster.

Bailiwick Covid-19 data for early January found that Bailiwick residents who had not yet had a booster vaccination are three to four times more likely to have a Covid-19 infection compared to those who have.

Dr Brink said she had heard a variety of reasons for why some people had chosen not to have a booster.

One was that people were prepared to take their chances with Omicron.

‘Omicron may be milder than Delta but it still has the potential to be serious, or even if not serious very unpleasant,’ she said.

‘Getting boosted massively increases the likelihood of you having milder disease.’

The second reason was nerves about a bad reaction.

‘I completely understand that for some people the vaccine can make them feel unwell for a day or two, but the vaccine is designed to help prepare your body to fight off the virus should you get it,’ Dr Brink said.

‘The virus itself is likely to make you feel unwell for longer than the booster, should you be someone who experiences side effects to it.’

The third reason was vaccine fatigue, as people get fed up with Covid.

‘I think a lot of people can relate to that but I would like to reassure those people that as a person is vaccinated with multiple doses, the immune system broadens its response,’ she said.

‘We absolutely agree that it is not tenable to boost everyone every six months.

‘It is also important to acknowledge that it is plausible that we need more frequent vaccines in the early stages of disease.

‘As the virus moves from a pandemic to endemic status then I think we will possibly be looking at an annual vaccine.’

Bailiwick cases drop below 2,000

MORE than 800 people recovered from Covid over the weekend.

And with a slowdown in new cases, the number of active ones has fallen to 1,752.

Case numbers peaked at more than 2,400 last week – the most ever recorded in the island – with about 200 new cases recorded a day.

But over the weekend there were only 320 new cases – 126 on Friday, 99 on Saturday and 95 on Sunday.

Alderney is still in the heart of the Omicron wave, with 114 active cases, with two in Sark.

There are three people in hospital. Since the start of the pandemic there have been 17 deaths due to Covid and 11 additional deaths involving Covid.

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