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Monday, May 16, 2022

Omicron unlikely to be last Covid-19 variant, `but immune systems will win´

Omicron is unlikely to be the last variant of Covid-19 to emerge, but human immune systems will win, Northern Ireland’s chief medical officer has said.

Michael McBride said the vaccination programme, particularly the booster jab, will tip the balance.

The death of six patients who had previously tested positive for the virus and another 2,706 cases were notified in the region on Monday.

Hospitals remained under pressure – with 387 Covid-positive patients in hospital, of whom 31 were in intensive care.

Michael said the region is set to reach the peak of the Omicron wave in the next couple of weeks.

He urged the taking up of vaccination.

“Variants will always arise,” he told the PA news agency.

“This is not the last variant that we have seen, there will be variants after Omicron, we have still, unfortunately, more letters in the Greek alphabet which we will use as those become detected, but what we can say is that increasingly our immune system is in a much better place, our immune system wins in the end and it wins particularly when we tip the balance in its favour and that means all of us getting the vaccine, all of us getting our booster vaccine.

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“What we have seen time and time again – even though the pressure is on the virus to mutate, to become more transmissible, to escape from the vaccines – time and time again, we have seen the vaccines that we have still offer very good protection against severe disease and hospitalisation, and that’s important.”

Sir Michael said there had been a huge surge of people coming forward for vaccination, but there has been a significant slowdown since Christmas Eve.

He said getting all the jabs meant you are 90percent more likely to avoid severe disease and require hospital admission.

“We have seen that right across the United Kingdom as people deferred getting their booster jab over the holiday period, but now we’re back, holidays are behind us, it’s really important that people don’t rely on two jabs to give them protection,” he said.

“We now know that three jabs are necessary to protect against severe disease, including reducing the risk of hospitalisation, so don’t sit at home and worry about Covid and Omicron – if you’ve your first dose, your second dose, the best thing you can do to keep you out of hospital is to get your booster dose.”

Earlier, Michael said case numbers will “increasingly become a less reliable indicator” of… Nokia News – Short Summary.

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