In South Africa, in order to curb the spread of the fourth wave of Covid infections, driven by the emergence of the Omicron variant, Cape Town’s health department deploys a mobile vaccination service, locally known as the « Vaxi Taxi», in Manenberg, offering Covid-19 vaccines to one of the city’s biggest townships.
Top scientists from the WHO and the United States said the Omicron variant appears to be no worse than other coronavirus strains while cautioning that more research is needed to judge its severity.
According to the African Health Research Insitute Executive Director based in Durban, South Africa, results of study « strongly suggests » that existing vaccines might prove less effective against Omicron.
« Alex Sigal’s lab whithin our institute did these studies and he showed that there is definitely much less neutralisation against Omicron compared to neutralisation against the original strains that came out of Wuhan initially. »
He adds that « The important thing is that these are laboratory results. We need real world data from people. So although this may suggest that the vaccine may work less well, we need to look at effectiveness of the vaccines on a population basis, and that is what is ultimately going to guide us on whether the vaccine would still work. »
He concludes that: « Very early results that we have seen suggest that the vaccines are still going to work and they still protect us against severe disease and death, which is the primary reason for which we get vaccines. »