Are New COVID Variants Like Omicron Linked To Low Vaccine Coverage? Here���s What The Science Says

Leading health experts have alerted that low vaccination coverage and the emergence of the Omicron variant could be fuelling the spike in COVID-19 related deaths.

FILE - Nigeria civil servants display their COVID-19 vaccines certificates to security officers before they are allowed access to their office in Abuja, Nigeria , Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021. © AP Photo/Gbemiga Olamikan FILE - Nigeria civil servants display their COVID-19 vaccines certificates to security officers before they are allowed access to their office in Abuja, Nigeria , Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021.

They stressed the need for more Nigerians to get vaccinated against the COVID-19, noting that while the Omicron variant is very mild on the vaccinated it is severe in those not vaccinated.

Analysis of the data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control by PUNCH HealthWise has revealed that COVID-19 related fatalities in the last 14 days (January 1 to 14) have exceeded the reported number of deaths in December 2021 (last month).

According to the NCDC, 61 deaths have so far been recorded from January 1 to 14 of while throughout December, 42 deaths were recorded.

This already represents a 45 per cent increase in the number of casualties.

The spike in reported COVID-19 related deaths according to the NCDC has increased fatalities from the viral pandemic in Nigeria to 3,092 as of Saturday, January 15.

Also, according to NCDC, 223,495 persons have so far recovered from the COVID-19. The number of Nigerians affected has exceeded 250,000 with the latest NCDC data released on Friday which put the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases at 250,361.

Speaking with our correspondent on the reasons for this increase in COVID-19 related deaths, a Professor of Molecular Biology and Genomics in the Department of Biological Sciences, Redeemer’s University Nigeria, Ede, Osun State, Christian Happi said the increased number of deaths recorded could be among the unvaccinated.

Happi stated that the deaths could be attributed to the low immunity that the unvaccinated have against the Omicron variant, explaining that the omicron variant is milder in the vaccinated but severe in the unvaccinated.

“Omicron is mild among people that are vaccinated and Omicron can be very deadly among the unvaccinated. So that is the difference.

“If people that are not vaccinated get Omicron the disease can be very severe. That is what we see because the vaccination coverage of Nigeria is very low so we may end up having more people dying of Omicron than elsewhere because many more people are not vaccinated compared to the vaccinated.”

Data from the National Primary Health Care Development Agency reveal that 12,391,384 of total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine while 4,934,418 of total eligible persons targeted for COVID-19 vaccination have been fully inoculated.

The Professor of Molecular Biology and Genomics advised that Nigerians should get vaccinated to avoid being severely affected by the omicron variant because “if you are not vaccinated, you can die of Omicron because you don’t have immunity to it.”

Also speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, a public health physician, Dr. Doyin Odubanjo explained that with a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases reported, the number of fatalities is also expected to rise, noting that the increase in death may also be linked to the health workers being overwhelmed.

Source : https://www.msn.com/en-xl/africa/nigeria/low-vaccination-coverage-omicron-could-be-fuelling-surge-in-covid-deaths-experts-warn/ar-AASPcgo

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Filed Under: MSN
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