Is Omicron Variant Infectious?
Updated On Apr 12, 2022
Table of Contents
The Omicron variant has spread worldwide rapidly and is now the major variant in many countries. Omicron is much more transmissible than previous variants of the COVID-19 virus, including Delta. Omicron, like other variants, continues to change and there are now two main sub-variants – BA.1 and BA.2.
The BA.2 sub-variant is also more infectious than the BA.1 sub-variant and is contributing to the increase in the number of cases in many countries around the world. BA.2 is not more severe than BA.1 and is not leading to more hospitalisations, but it is possible to be infected by BA.2 after recovering from BA.1.
What Do We Know About Omicron And Vaccination?
- A person is significantly less likely to be severely sick, hospitalised or die from Omicron if vaccinated, especially following the third (booster) dose
- Real life evidence highlights in those countries with high vaccination rates (~95%) that this does provide some population immunity on top of individual immunity
- While vaccination provides less protection against contracting and transmitting the Omicron variant compared with earlier variants, it still provides some protection, especially after the third (booster) dose.
Health advice, based on the evidence we have, is that the Omicron variant can still be contracted and transmitted by vaccinated people. Other key public health measures should continue to be deployed to reduce the spread of the virus. These include:
- Vaccination (increasing booster rates to the highest possible level)
- Staying home when sick
- Mask use in indoor settings
- Improving ventilation
- Physical distancing
- Basic hygiene practices.
High rates of vaccination remain critical to prevent severe disease and death, especially in vulnerable people. In addition, it affords some individual protection against infection and transmission of the virus and broad population protection with high vaccination uptake.
- Omicron is more transmissible than the Delta variant
- Whilst still causing illness, a person is less likely to be severely ill if they contract Omicron than Delta
- Omicron is currently circulating at high rates.
Omicron probably causes similar symptoms to other variants, such as Delta. However, in a country that has most people vaccinated, many people may not have any symptoms at all, but still be able to pass on the virus to other people.
Omicron has resulted in many more people being hospitalized than at any other time in the pandemic. This Is not because Omicron is very severe but because Omicron can cause so many infections over a short period of time.
Omicron can still cause severe illness and even death, especially in people who are at risk of severe outcomes, such as elderly and those with severe underlying health conditions. However, a smaller proportion of people who are infected with Omicron need to go to hospital compared to people infected with Delta.
Vaccination and boosters help to reduce transmission of the virus. Remember, that if you don’t get the virus, you can’t give it to someone else. Taking other precautions also remains important to continue to protect our communities against Omicron. As well as vaccination, early detection of cases and swift contact tracing, and isolation of cases and contacts, is critical.
You may also like to read - The Advantages Of Purchasing A Health Insurance Policy Of Rs. 1 Crore