Preliminary evidence indicates that COVID-19 vaccines may be less effective against infection and transmission linked to the Omicron coronavirus variant, which also carries a higher risk of reinfection, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.
“As a result of this, the overall risk related to the new variant of concern Omicron remains very high,” it said, echoing comments made by WHO officials at an online briefing on Tuesday.
This needs to be interpreted with caution as countries may perform targeted sequencing for Omicron and therefore upload fewer sequences on all other variants, including Delta, it said.
But the trend is declining in the proportion of Alpha, Beta and Gamma, and with the emergence of Omicron variant. Out of the total, some 3,755 – or 0.4% – were Omicron and the other three variants of concern together numbered 401, less than 0.1% each.