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Omicron: 'Vaxxed' persons having milder symptoms, recovering faster– Dr Georges

Omicron: 'Vaxxed' persons having milder symptoms, recovering faster– Dr Georges

With Omicron named the culprit behind the Virgin Islands' latest COVID-19 surge, the variant is impacting the vaccinated and the unvaccinated in different ways, according to the territory’s Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronald E. Georges.

Appearing as a virtual presenter during an update on the territory’s COVID-19 situation on January 7, 2022, Dr Georges made a clear distinction between the vaccinated and unvaccinated and said the impacts of Omicron on both are raising concerns.

Acting Chief Medical Officer, Dr Ronald E. Georges said the unvaccinated can expect more severe symptoms from Omicron and the data shows it.


Omicron & Vaxxed vs Unvaxxed


“Even though persons who are vaccinated still could get infected, they have a much, much, much milder course of infection, and they recover much quicker,” he said.

For those who are unvaccinated, he said the risks are greater and global data shows it. Dr Georges added that unvaccinated persons can expect severe impacts of the Omicron variant.

“Persons who are unvaccinated have a greater chance of having a more severe course and a longer course, and then having a greater chance of complications and hospitalisation, that’s one point.”

Further, having both doses of a two-shot vaccine and then a third dose comes with added benefits, according to the medical doctor.

He said booster shots have been shown to reduce the level of infection and infectivity by Omicron by 50% to 75%.

Also appearing in the update was Minister for Health and Social Development, Hon Carvin Malone (AL), who reiterated his call for persons to get vaccinated as the ultimate tool of protection against the virus.

Dr Georges added, “So this is why as the Minister mentioned, vaccination and boosters remain one of the mainstays of our strategy to deal with this surge.”

Impacts on healthcare system


Meanwhile, Dr Georges detailed that due to the large number of cases that come from the Omicron variant, challenges emerge where it becomes difficult to track the cases, including more challenges with the variant overwhelming the capacity to effectively contact trace.

“So, as I mentioned before, the Omicron variant outbreaks are generally much faster and larger than other variants, so the curve shoots up very quickly. And there's a considerable number of persons who are impacted, even though it's mild, the number is generally quite large.”

He said to mitigate the effects, health authorities will try to maintain and protect the local hospital capacity, given the large numbers of cases expected.

Dr Georges added that the hospital is also making provision for more medication, PPE’s and critical supplies, with conversations ongoing for public/private partnership regarding the management of mild cases in the community.

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