UK researchers have analyzed the likely impact that a Covid booster shot will have on Omicron and say it could provide around 85% protection against severe illness.
The protection is a bit less than vaccines given against earlier versions of Covid. But it means the top-up dose should still keep many people out of hospital.
It comes as a record 861,306 number of booster jabs and third doses were given in the UK on December 16, 2021.
The modeling, from the team at Imperial College London, is based on limited information on Omicron. The researchers say there is a high degree of uncertainty until more real-world information is gathered about this new variant that is spreading quickly.
Experts are still trying to figure out how mild or severe Omicron will turn out to be.
Vaccines help teach the body how to fight Covid.
But, the current ones in use are not designed to combat the heavily-mutated Omicron variant, meaning they are not a perfect match.To get round that, people in the UK are being advised to have a booster dose to build up higher antibody levels to fight the virus.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex has warned that the Omicron variant is “spreading at lightning speed” in Europe and will likely become dominant in France by the start of next year.
He spoke hours before France imposed strict travel restrictions on those entering from the United Kingdom.
The UK has so far been the hardest hit in the region, with nearly 15,000 confirmed Omicron cases on December 17, 2021.
Across the Continent, Health Officials are bracing up for a wave of infections.
Additional restrictions have been announced in Germany, the Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands as governments seek to stem the tide.