NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Some new information about the omicron COVID-19 variant released Monday has some doctors cautiously optimistic. From how serious it can be to brand new information on how effective current vaccines are against it.
South Africa has the most omicron cases reported, so doctors – including Yale Medicine‘s F. Perry Wilson – are carefully watching as results there unfold.
“Suggests that there’s a slightly lower rate of hospitalization among people with omicron versus delta and among those hospitalized the disease seems a little bit less severe, less oxygen supplementation,” explained Dr. Wilson.
WEB EXTRA: Full interview with Dr. F. Perry Willson on encouraging data regarding omicron and the importance of home testing for COVID. Plus, new research concerning myocarditis and kids.
He points out the disease seems to be happening more in younger people who often suffer less severe disease.
Dr. Wilson says home COVID testing could be a powerful tool for the future of the pandemic.
“Particularly for vaccinated people who often don’t get very severe symptoms at all if they have covid, just a runny nose but just want to get tested to protect vulnerable relatives,” said Dr. Wilson. He added, locating at-home tests is easier online.
Current vaccines appear to be offering some protection from the omicron variant.
“We do know that the vaccines tend to be very protective against this new variant and so especially as we’re coming up on colder weather when people are gathering inside and holidays where people are gathering together,” Dr. Wilson added.
He said some new vaccine information is coming from Israel which continues to have a robust vaccination program.
And beyond offering protection from omicron, Dr. Wilson points out the COVID vaccine’s strongest point: “More importantly, greater than 90 percent effective against severe infection, hospitalization, and death which is obviously what people are really worried about here.”
Dr. Wilson also weighed in on new information on myocarditis, a rare heart condition seen mostly in 16 and 17-year-old boys following vaccination. The condition is extremely rare and easy to treat if they do end up hospitalized. Dr. Wilson said that is much less concerning than the side effects from COVID itself.