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Coronavirus vaccines

Which people will be able to get the third dose in early 2022?

The CDC recommends everyone over the age of 18 should get a booster as Omicron begins to take hold in the US.

A Palestinian Ministry of Health employee prepares a dose of vaccine during a Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine drive in the village of Dura, west of Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on December 27, 2021.
Hazem BaderAFP

With Omicron tearing its way across the world, many western countries have authorized the use of booster vaccines in an attempt to stop the spread of covid-19. As it has been so long since the original round of jabs, vaccine efficacy has faltered. Alongside this, Omicron has the ability to circumvent old vaccines, putting more people at risk. Having a booster tops-up the protection needed to ward off the virus.

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Who should get a booster jab?

According to the CDC, everyone over 18 years old should get the booster. It is possible for people older than 16 to get one, but the CDC is yet to recommend them to have it.

Timing wise, people should wait at least six months since their second jab to have another. This is to give maximum, protection.

What are the effects of Omicron?

The Omicron variant is causing concern around the world with is rapid expansion. Discovered in testing samples in Southern Africa in November, it has already reached the four corners of the globe.

Given the recent dominance of the strain, data is still very limited on the Omicron variant. But early real-world analysis gives some hope showing that symptoms appear to be less severe, but the variant is still lethal. Furthermore, the high rate of infections could overwhelm the healthcare systems across the nation, strained by nearly two years of pandemic.

Alongside this, the rate of reinfection with Omicron is much higher than the previous variant, Delta. A new report from the Imperial College London covid-19 response team estimates that the risk of reinfection with the Omicron variant is 5.4 times greater than that of the Delta variant. These factors have led to omicron becoming the dominant variant in the US in a matter of weeks.

Evidence of this is already being found across the world. There has been serious flight disruption over the Christmas period as airline crew are having to isolate for being in contact with an infected person. Thousands of flights worldwide have been delayed or cancelled.


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