By Charlotte Webster-
Over 50% of the confirmed cases of the new Omicron variant in the UK were double jabbed, health officials have said.
A new technical briefing from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) hass revealed that 12 of the 22 known cases up to 30 November had been fully vaccinated.
Another two people infected had been given their first dose at least four weeks earlier, six were unvaccinated, with no data available on two of the cases.
The data also revealed that a majority of Delta cases are also in the fully-vaccinated, because more than 80% of the population over 12 has now had two jabs.
The revelation raises questions about the basis of pushing for double vaccination in response to the arrival of the new variant.
Analyst Amber Smart, told The Eye Of Media.Com: ” Being vaccinated may well have its benefits on safeguarding the public, but with this news, the need to minimise the transmission of the virus must not be used as a smokescreen to push for booster jabs, in order not to fall into the hands of sharp critics who may then be put off if they see signs of deceit. We all have to be careful, but we must not pretend that vaccination provides any special protection from becoming infected with the Omicron variant, when we know it simply does not.
It likely reduces the chances of becoming infected with Omicron and offers greater protectin from becoming infected with th Delta variant, but until we know what factors influence those chances of still being infected, we must be honest with the British public”.
Researchers have placed the highest “red” alert against the virus for its theoretical ability, based on its mutations, to evade both vaccine and naturally-acquired immunity. It also warns that it could reduce the effectiveness of monoclonal antibody treatments.
The UKHSA’s confidence level for the following bullet points is “low”.
Amber status – Transmissibility Between Humans. “At least as transmissible as currently circulating variants. Omicron is transmitting rapidly and successfully. Increased transmissibility compared to Delta is biologically plausible.”
Red status – Naturally Acquired Immunity. “Mutations suggestive of reduced protection from natural immunity. Based on experience with other variants, laboratory data on individual mutations, and structural modelling, the mutations present are very likely to reduce antibody binding.”
The UKHSA added that PCR tests are able to distinguish Omicron from other variants, giving a “strong early signal” of UK infections.
So called S-gene drop out, which is indicative of Omicron and some other variants, has risen by 141% in the last week. In the previous 90 days it was fluctuating up and down, suggesting the new rise is linked to faster growth.
The document notes: “However, the number cannot be interpreted as a change in transmissibility or an increase in the absolute number.”
Monitoring of wastewater has found “very little evidence” of Omicron up to 21 November, but more recent data is being analysed.
In another update on Friday, the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said Omicron may be more transmissible through the air.
The “preliminary indications” are made with “low confidence”, the summary adds.
Regarding potentially increased restrictions, SAGE said that the earlier they are introduced, the more stringent they are and the wider their geographic coverage, “the more effective they will be”.