The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that it is not going anywhere anytime soon. Since the omicron subvariant BA.2 gained dominance in the U.S. last month, there has been a growing concern about a possible surge in cases and transmissions in the country. Experts have since been encouraging the administration of another booster shot. But is there really a need for another dose in the face of the new strain?
BA.2 Cases In The U.S.
The latest figures presented by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Monday showed that the BA.2 subvariant of omicron already accounted for nearly three of every four cases in the country, with Reuters reporting that an estimated 72.2% of all COVID variant transmissions are caused by the variant dubbed by experts as “stealth omicron.”
The public health agency’s estimates showed a big jump from the 57.3% reported in the previous week. Worldwide, BA.2 now makes up about 86% of all sequenced cases, proving that the subvariant has already become the most dominant compared to all of the other SARS-CoV-2 strains.
The rapid spread of BA.2 was expected ever since the subvariant got discovered. Scientists did say that the omicron subvariant was about 50% to 80% more contagious than its parent variant, omicron, as per Press Herald. Even though it managed to spread in a very fast manner, experts pointed out that the BA.2 subvariant was not more serious than the delta and other previous strains.
Importance Of Second Booster
Even if the BA.2 variant only causes mild COVID-19 infection, there is still a need to address the condition and prevent its further spread as much as possible. This is where the role of booster shots comes in. The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have already approved the second booster for some. Experts are urging everyone eligible for it to get jabbed, to help contain the situation.
Many studies have shown that the protections given by vaccines wane over time, so it is a must to stay updated. At-risk groups are encouraged to get the second booster about four months after their first because the newer variants of the novel coronavirus have the characteristics of being more transmissible, Fast Company reported.
The second vaccine booster does not necessarily provide better protection against the omicron subvariants. An Israeli study showed that having another booster shot “restores antibody titers to peak post-third dose titers.” What this does is extend the protection afforded by the prior vaccinations. As of late, the fourth dose is only given to people over the age of 50 with underlying medical conditions. Health authorities are still mum on their possible plans to expand the recommendation to people below 50 in the future.