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The health authorities in Israel announced that the Current boosters of vaccines against Covid-19 are also effective against the new variant Omicron, although they did not present the studies that support this claim.
People who received a Pfizer booster shot or a second injection in six months should still be highly protected against Omicron, Israeli health authorities said.
Without citing any data, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said there was “room for optimism” and that existing vaccines will protect against serious diseases of the new strain, according to “initial indications.”
Hours later, a report from an Israeli news channel claimed that Pfizer’s booster was 90 percent effective in preventing symptomatic Omicron infection, only slightly less than Delta.
The Channel 12 news broadcast also stated that the super variant is only 30 percent more infectious than Delta, much lower than initially feared.
By comparison, Delta is 70% more infectious than the Alpha strain, which it surpassed earlier this year.
Israel has been ‘pushing’ reinforcements across its entire adult population since the summer.
Horowitz told local journalists yesterday: “In the next few days we will have more precise information on the efficacy of the Omicron vaccine.
“But there is already room for optimism, and there are initial indications that those who are vaccinated with a still valid vaccine or with a booster, will also be protected from this variant.”
A spokesman for the Ministry of Health said last night that he was not yet in possession of the data published by Channel 12.
But the comments come after the BioNTech co-founder, who developed the Pfizer vaccine, said he was confident his shot would hold up against Omicron.
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz said Tuesday that it appears that people who received two vaccines in the past six months or a booster are protected against Omicron.
Vaccine makers Moderna and Pfizer are already working on Covid vaccines that could combat the Omicron strain, but they won’t be ready until mid-2022.
Dr. Angelique Coetzee, president of the South African Medical Association and the first person to detect the new variant in a patient, said her Omicron-infected patients reported different and much milder symptoms such as tiredness, muscle aches, headache. and dry cough.
None reported telltale symptoms of loss of smell or taste or breathing difficulties.
* “Ómicron reminds us that this is not over,” says Tedros Adhanom, WHO Director
* Ómicron: 3 unknowns and 3 things we know about the new variant of coronavirus that worries the world
* Biden plans strict rules for travelers for new variant, according to The Washington Post