Eight reasons we should still have a great Christmas

Eight reasons we should still have a great Christmas
Eight reasons we should still have a great Christmas
Eight reasons we should still have a great Christmas: ELEANOR HAYWARD analyses why, despite these new Covid restrictions, this festive season carries more hope than the last

View
comments

It has all felt depressingly familiar: with Christmas around the corner, a mutant variant has emerged and alarmist voices are calling for the return of Covid restrictions. But while concern about Omicron is understandable, scientists are also confident we can fight off the threat. Many predict vaccines will still protect against severe disease and say there is no sign of the new strain causing an increase in hospital admissions. They also point out it would be difficult for Omicron to get around the 'T-cell immunity' many of us now have. Here are the key reasons why, unlike last year, we can look forward to a happy Christmas:

Acquired immunity

It has been suggested that the Omicron variant will be better at evading the immunity given by existing vaccines because of the 'unprecedented' 32 mutations to its spike protein - the part of the virus targeted by antibodies. But in the last 48 hours many scientists have offered reassurance on this issue. Yesterday, Jonathan Van-Tam, England's deputy chief medical officer, urged against 'panic' and said he hoped the vaccines would still prevent serious illness. Professor Salim Abdool Karim, South Africa's chief Covid adviser during the initial response to the pandemic, said existing vaccines remained 'strong' at preventing severe disease and hospitalisation. On top of antibodies, there are other crucial components to the immune system – such as T-cells – which are less easily fooled by mutations.

Many scientists predict vaccines will still protect against severe disease and say there is no sign of the new strain causing an increase in hospital admissions (stock image)

Many scientists predict vaccines will still protect against severe disease and say there is no sign of the new strain causing an increase in hospital admissions (stock image)

Booster success

The remarkable success of booster jabs has exceeded all scientific expectations: they top up immunity to even higher levels than after the second dose. Therefore increased antibodies from boosters should 'mitigate' the impact of any decreased protection against Omicron. As Professor Wei Shen Lim, chairman of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, said: 'That higher level of immune response will reach out and provide an extra level of protection.'

Severe disease

Early indications suggest Omicron is more infectious, but there is no evidence it causes more severe disease or more deaths. On the contrary, some South African

read more from dailymail.....

PREV Andrew McDiarmid stabbing: Retired Merseyside Police detective inspector ...
NEXT Andrew McDiarmid stabbing: Retired Merseyside Police detective inspector ...