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Vaccine makers should plan to adjust COVID-19 jabs


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: This logo was taken outside of a World Health Organization building during an executive board meeting regarding the update on coronavirus, Geneva, Switzerland, 02/06/2019 REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA, (Reuters) – COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers should be prepared for the possibility of having to modify their products in order to defend against Omicron variants. This was the World Health Organization (WHO), spokesperson on Friday.

Christian Lindmeier spoke at U.N. briefings in Geneva and said that the agency is studying the transmissionability of the variant discovered in south Africa last month.

He said, “It’s highly recommended that vaccine manufacturers start planning ahead to plan for the possibility of having to modify the existing vaccine.”

He said, “It’s not enough to just wait for the last alarm bell to ring,”

Ugur Sahin, the CEO at BioNTech Germany told the Reuters Next conference that Germany’s BioNTech will be able quickly adapt its coronavirus vaccination to Omicron variant.

South African scientists who are studying the Omicron virus believe the symptoms of Omicron will be milder if the infected have received COVID-19 from the new version or were vaccinated.

Maria van Kerkhove is the WHO’s technical leader on COVID-19. She stated that she expects to receive more information about the transmissibility and effectiveness of the Omicron variant within days.

Lindmeier stated that “it will still take some, and let’s no rush to make conclusions here,” on Friday.

We have been stating that preliminary data shows that the transmissibility is greater. He said that this is all we have thus far.

Lindmeier stated that Delta is still the most dominant global variant, responsible for over 90% of all infections.

He said that Omicron might be rising and it may become the dominant variant. However, at the moment, Delta is the most dominant variant.

“The two-week old restrictions, which were placed in many countries only weeks ago, are economic closures, lockdowns, in some areas, and the closure of Christmas markets for parts of Europe. These measures were taken before Omicron, due to an increase in Delta cases.

He said, “Let’s not forget this.”

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