The World Health Organization-designated coronavirus variant named Omicron suggests, say African scientists now busy in their laboratories in that race to find a defensive bar against it, a high rate of reinfection of people who had the coronavirus.
The heavily mutated variant is feared by scientists to be the most contagious yet, and is thus far the dominant form of the deadly coronavirus in South Africa. It is spreading fast across 25 countries in six continents, including Canada and the United States which have each detected one case entering their respective borders.
In the Philippines, one, a returning Filipino migrant worker from South Africa before news of the Omicron discovery was disclosed, is being closely monitored by health authorities.
This is the rationale for our call on those who have not received any vaccine provided by the government, through the local government units, to take advantage of the three-day nationwide second round of anti-COVID-19 vaccination drive starting December 15.
More than 7.6 million individuals were inoculated during the first round under the National COVID-19 Vaccination Days which ended early this month, with the government aiming to fully vaccinate 54 million by yearend to achieve population protection against the virus.
Disease experts say it is not yet clear whether Omicron is more transmissible than the previously identified Delta variant but the number of people testing positive has risen in areas of South Africa affected by this variant.
Experts say it will soon be in every populated corner on earth.
That could mean that a world already battered by two years of pandemic – and up to recent weeks has been hoping for recovery – may be headed for another wave of cases.
A past coronavirus infection appears to give little immunity to the new Omicron variant rippling across the globe, South African scientists have warned, potentially tearing away one layer of defense that humanity has won slowly and at cosmic cost.
At home, there has been a positive ring in the demonstrated willingness of thus far non-vaccinated residents in the different regions.
The reluctant portion of the population, whatever their reason for staying away from vaccination centers, should take note of the government’s second round – as we prepare for greater mobility during the holidays.
Go get the jab. There is no more reason not to.