Monica Gandhi, Oma Cron And South Africa discussed on WTOP 24 Hour News


On the CDC now says all adults should get a COVID booster shot previously it said all adults may get the shots This is the World Health Organization says the global risk from the new omicron COVID variant is very high based on early evidence and it could lead to surges with severe consequences Dimitri speaks with doctor Monica Gandhi She is an infectious disease expert at the University of California San Francisco She says there is no reason to panic over oma cron because we have the tools to fight it The three things that we want to know and then I'll say what we know about them is if it's more transmissible if it's more virulent and does this variant evade our vaccines And so what do we know not a whole lot but in terms of the transmissibility question I think that's what the WHO is responding to that we are concerned that it's more transmissible However that actually has not been definitively proven because for example in a country like South Africa they had 23% full vaccination rates So variants can spread in places that have low vaccination rates But for example it's already in Portugal Israel Italy UK Canada and with high vaccination rates And it's very early but we haven't seen that degree of spread It's more transmissible in a place that has low vaccination The second is is it more virulent You know that is very interesting And these are just tantalizing early clues that doctor coetzee who is the South Africa the medical officer is telling us that it's only found in people who are generally unvaccinated 65% of symptomatic cases among the unvaccinated 35% among half vaccinated but not seeing severe disease in vaccinated And in fact even said that it would seem more mild than other variants had given us with the unvaccinated But again need more epidemiology And then does it evade the vaccines I don't think so And doctor Francis Collins really We showed us on this yesterday from the NIH But the reasons we don't think it evades the vaccines is what I just told you that the symptomatic cases in South Africa that's reported as well as Israel actually and Portugal And the vaccinated people are asymptomatic or for example travelers who have traveled in that it's found in their nose they don't have symptoms So that really implies the vaccines work against them let alone from what we know about immunology would be hard to totally evade the vaccines Please give vaccinated It is truly the best way to protect yourself and your family Talk about getting vaccinated Do you think we're going to see higher numbers of people getting a booster Yes I think that the NIH has really pushing boosters the CDC ACIP approved it for everyone I think a lot more people are going to get boosters I absolutely would push hard on people who are over 65 immunocompromised multiple medical conditions Please please get a booster I think other groups I think as they're traveling they'll probably just go ahead and get a booster saying well it's going to increase my antibodies temporarily why not And I think that's absolutely fine So I think we're going to see increases in boosters increases in 5 to 11 year olds which were already seeing and definitely pleased the older people get boosters and anyone who hasn't gotten vaccinated please consider it Doctor Monica Gandhi with UCSF on Skype and conversation with WTO peace demetri sotis Some folks tuning in tonight inching their way toward FedEx field for the big showdown with the Seahawks tonight a preview straight ahead

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