The COVID-19 vaccine shots won’t be enough to combat the omicron variant, according to Ugur Sahin, the CEO of vaccine developer BioNTech.
- “We must be aware that even triple-vaccinated are likely to transmit the disease,” he told French daily Le Monde.
- “It is obvious we are far from 95 percent effectiveness that we obtained against the initial virus,” he added.
- He added that the vaccine is now 70% to 75% effective against stopping COVID-19 infection.
Sahin said vaccine efficacy has been dropping against omicron, which is a sign that the vaccines aren’t enough, according to Euro News.
- “There will be a loss of effectiveness against Omicron over time, it’s very likely, but it’s still to be measured how quickly. I will not base predictions on preliminary laboratory data but on real-life data, which is much more appropriate,” Sahin said.
That’s why consistent testing is important for monitoring the spread of the virus, he said.
Indeed, a recent study from researchers at Columbia University suggested that the omicron variant of COVID-19 is “markedly resistant” to the COVID-19 vaccines, antibody treatments and COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, as I wrote for the Deseret News.
- Experts have been advising unvaccinated people to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and for fully vaccinated people to get their vaccine booster shots.
Early data suggest that the omicron variant causes less severe COVID-19 symptoms and hospitalizations, though, per the Deseret News. But this is all based on early data and it may take time to assess the severity of the coronavirus variant.