The World Health Organisation (WHO) last week announced the emergence of Omicron, a new variant of Covid-19. WHO says this variant is more infectious, virulent, and has far more mutations that may easily worm their way around vaccine protection.
And that begs the one million dollar question!
If Omicron can penetrate the vaccine defenses what happens to those who are vaccinated? Can the current vaccines in circulation protect people?
According to reports, some vaccine manufacturers have started working on new vaccines altogether? Many people had hoped that the worst of the pandemic was almost over only to be jolted by the emergence of Omicron.
For the moment the public has little understanding of the new variant but we hope scientists did not stop at soliciting for vaccines but continued to analyze and anticipate variants.
We pray the country is not caught flat-footed like the case was with the second wave that killed many people. President Yoweri Museveni is often advised in such situations to lock up the country.
Earlier this month, he said the country will open up in January irrespective of whether the targeted 12 million are vaccinated or not. Truth be told, no one is safe until everyone is safe. And this is not possible.
If this time around we are hit again severely, then it would be a cruel reminder of the health ministry’s lack of vigilance especially in advising people about innovative ways of self-protection. The scientists elsewhere have argued that the more the virus circulates, the greater the risk of new variants.
In Uganda, we seem to have abandoned efforts to support local remedies such as Covidex. It is also possible the country’s medical facilities don’t have enough oxygen cylinders.
Instead, the country is on a begging spree and backing others to demand the waiving of intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines, testing kits, and treatments.
South Africa says they were able to detect this variant because their research institutions have not gone to sleep and they are trying to come up with local and tailored remedies! What is Uganda’s body of scientists doing?