Omicron variant latest – Vaccines DO work on Frankenstein covid strain with Pfizer giving 90% protection, Israel claims

THE PFIZER Covid vaccine booster and second jab, if had within the past six months, should give high protection against Omicron, Israeli health chiefs claim.

Despite not citing any data, Health minister Nitzan Horowitz said on Tuesday that there was 'room for optimism' based on 'initial indications'.

However, hours later a report by an Israeli news channel claimed the Pfizer jab was 90% effective at preventing symptomatic infection from Omicron.

Mr Horowitz told local reporters on Tuesday: 'In the coming days we will have more accurate information about the efficacy of the vaccine against Omicron.

'But there is already room for optimism, and there are initial indications that those who are vaccinated with a vaccine still valid or with a booster, will also be protected from this variant.'  

Read our Omicron live blog for the latest news and updates…

  • Louis Allwood

    News you may have missed today

    • New rules have come into force TODAY to stop the new variant Omicron
    • Brits face fines if they don’t wear masks on public transport or in shops
    • Schools WON’T close despite the new strain
    • Docs fear the new strain will put certain people at greater risk
    • European leaders said they are in a race against time to stop the new variant from spreading

    The new rules

    Face masks are once again compulsory in shops and on public transport, but not in pubs and restaurants.

    And new travel rules were introduced today for Brits returning from abroad.

    All Brits must now self-isolate for two days when returning from any country, and pay for a PCR test to be taken on or before day two.

    Instructors and learners listen up

    The latest legislation states masks are required during driving lessons and tests.

    This includes vehicles of any class – and applies to both student and instructor.

    You do not, however, need to be covered up in your own vehicle.

    • Louis Allwood

      Sick pay for self-isolating

      Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has said ensuring people have sick pay when they have to self-isolate is “one of the most crucial things we can do” amid the rise of the Omicron variant, along with people wearing face coverings – “including the Prime Minister”.

      She told BBC Breakfast: “If people have to self-isolate or go off sick they have to be given sick pay, it’s one of the most crucial things we can do to ensure that everybody can do the right thing and protect people from this new variant.

      “The booster jab should be given as quickly as possible, we said five months, hopefully that will happen now, and there should be ventilation in schools.

      “People should be wearing masks, including the Prime Minister when he’s visiting public spaces indoors.

      “The G7 was very clear in its commitment to rolling out the vaccines across the globe and we’ve not met those targets.

      “We’ve seen that there’s no point in vaccinating Britain if the rest of the world is not given the vaccines as well.”

    • Louis Allwood

      Around 13m over-18s will be eligible for booster shots

      It has been confirmed by government scientists that an extra 13 million over-18s will become eligible for a third shot of the vaccine before the end of the year.

      Kids aged 12 to 15 will also be offered a second dose of the vaccine, in an attempt to shore up the nation’s immunity in the face of the worrying new strain.

      Experts hope cutting the gap between the second and third doses of the jab from six to three months will allow the UK to get ahead of the new Covid variant.

    • Louis Allwood

      Public being trained to give boosters (Continued…)

      Professor Adam Finn, a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), said the coronavirus vaccination programme “is all about speed”.

      He told BBC Breakfast: “So the two challenges are going to be the logistics of actually delivering so much vaccine in a very short time and of course, it’s important that people come forward and receive those jabs in good time so that they can build up that extra immunity that we need to be sure that we’re protected against this new variant.

      “So challenging month ahead for the NHS.”

    • Louis Allwood

      Public being trained to give boosters

      Member of the public are being trained up to help with getting the booster jabs out as the country works to save Christmas.

      The rollout of the extra shot of vaccine has been ramped up as the mutant variant arrived in Britain.

      Ministers are desperate to get as many people as possible having their boosters earlier.

      The arrival of the super strain has already seen mask wearing enforced again, and a change in travel restrictions.

      But to combat any more coming in, and the variant spreading, regular Brits are being taught how to give out the vaccines.

      This will speed up the rollout and allow more jabs to go in more arms, as the NHS is also trying to deal with the backlog of delayed treatments.

    • Louis Allwood

      The best present this Xmas is getting boosters

      This is a comment piece by Jonathan Van-Tam

      On this day, a year ago, we lacked the one thing we needed most of all in our fight against COVID: an approved vaccine to deploy to the people of the UK.

      Tomorrow, a year ago, that all changed. On 2nd December 2020 our regulator, the MHRA, became the first in the world to approve the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine; a few weeks later the AstraZeneca vaccine was licensed.

      A vast amount of work had led up to that point, and a vast amount of work has followed to get those vital jabs into arms.

      That was a real turning point in the battle with the pandemic. On 8th December, just 6 days after approval, Margaret Keenan became the first person in the world to receive a deployed dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

      Over 115 million vaccinations later, we can see the powerful impact the UK deployed vaccines (Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca) have had in saving lives, reducing serious illness, and taking pressure of the NHS.

      The huge delivery of vaccination by the NHS and volunteers, and the huge take up of vaccination by us all has allowed us to return to many of the things we love.

      Right now, there is again uncertainty, because of the new Omicron variant and what that will mean. Scientists have always been clear that variants will happen.

    • Louis Allwood

      EasyJet announcement

      Those flying with EasyJet will be able to take advantage of the flexible Covid booking rules until the end of March following the extension.

      The Omicron Covid variant has caused great concern and has prompted the budget airline to give passengers more flexibility during a time of travel uncertainty.

      This gives flyers last-minute flexibility if new Covid restrictions are announced.

      There are no restrictions on flight dates or destinations, and customers with both new and existing bookings can transfer to any flights currently on sale up to the end of September 2022.

      So if there are some travel restrictions impacting a customer’s destination country, they can easily change their trip to another country on easyJet’s network.

      The budget airline’s existing travel restriction protection for flights will remain in place until the end of next year.

    • Louis Allwood

      Jabs Army

      This is a comment piece from Boris Johnson

      THANKS to the amazing efforts of the British people and our NHS, we had the fastest vaccine rollout in Europe.

      Today, we have the fastest booster rollout too.

      And be in no doubt, the fantastic volunteers of The Sun’s Jabs Army made an enormous difference in helping the UK achieve this feat.

      Now my message is simple: We need you again. We still don’t know exactly what we’re facing with this Omicron variant.

      But we do know that our single best defence against Omicron — and every other variety of Covid — is getting vaccinated and getting boosted.

      If you’ve had a booster then your immune response will be stronger and you’ll be better protected.

    • Louis Allwood

      Pingdemic – The return

      The latest Covid variant has seen the rise of a new pingdemic which would knock at least £2billion off the economy, a think tank claims.

      The Institute of Economic Affairs believes the measures could end up hammering the economy.

      Spokesman Julian Jessop said: “The main short-term risk to the economy comes from the tightening of the self-isolation rules, which could trigger another pingdemic.

      “This would disrupt schools and businesses in the crucial pre-Christmas period.”

      Labour shortages would amplify the impact compared with the July pingdemic — costing £2billion, he added.

      Read the article in full here.

    • Louis Allwood

      Covid booster eligibility

      You don’t have to wait until the six-month mark to book, as the NHS is sending invitations to arrive at five months after the second dose.

      People who will be invited for a booster include:

      • people aged 40 and over
      • people who live and work in care homes
      • frontline health and social care workers
      • people aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from Covid
      • people aged 16 and over who are a main carer for someone at high risk from Covid
      • people aged 16 and over who live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)

        Source: Read Full Article