The omicron variant of the coronavirus has been confusing. Early reports suggest that the variant can evade vaccines. Others suggest it causes fewer severe symptoms but it can still infect fully vaccinated people.

But Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious disease expert at Mayo Clinic, recently told WKBT-TV that the COVID-19 booster shot is the most effective way to stop severe omicron variant symptoms.

  • “As time passes, vaccinated people become less protected which is why doctors are asking people to get a booster dose,” he said.
  • “If you get that booster dose, in essence, a third dose, your protection against hospitalization, jumps back up to what it had been, if not higher, so about 75%–80% protection. Data shows this virus variant replicates about 70-fold faster than the delta variant,” he added.
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Ugur Sahin, the CEO of vaccine developer BioNTech, said that triple-vaccinated people can still transmit the coronavirus to other people since the vaccine’s effectiveness has dipped so much, according to his interview with French daily Le Monde.

  • He said the vaccine is now 70% to 75% effective against stopping COVID-19 infection, though.

Still, experts are still unsure how severe the omicron variant is for people. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said omicron is more transmissible but doesn’t cause major illness.