Many Unknowns About Omicron

Vala Hafstað

A total of seven cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Iceland, Morgunblaðið reports. All seven people diagnosed have ties to the town Akranes, West Iceland. The cases are believed to be connected, meaning that possibly the variant has not yet spread in Icelandic society.

Kári Stefánsson, CEO of deCode Genetics, told mbl.is yesterday he stands by his earlier statement regarding strong reactions to the new variant. “I’m just saying that no data are available showing that the variant is more contagious than other variants, that it causes a more serious disease, or that it has an easier way of breaking through the immune system. The data are simply not yet available.”

Still, Kári notes that deCode Genetics has resumed doing sequence analysis daily of confirmed samples, as was done last year and early this year. That, he states, is done to closely monitor how the variant spreads in society.

New statistical data were published on covid.is yesterday regarding the incidence of hospitalizations per 100,000 inhabitants, depending on people’s vaccination status. The data reveal that the incidence is only 0.5 among adults who have received a booster shot, compared with 5.9 for those who are fully vaccinated without a booster shot, and 34 among those who are not fully vaccinated.

Vaccination is in full swing at Laugardalshöll sports center, Reykjavík. After December 10, the service will be moved to the health clinic on Suðurlandsbraut. Everyone who has not yet been fully vaccinated is welcome today, as well as Thursday and Friday next week. Booster shots will be offered to those who receive a text message from health authorities on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

The Moderna vaccine is not recommended for males aged 39 and younger, according to the website of the Capital Area Health Clinics, due to a possible increased risk of carditis in that group, mbl.is reports. Instead, the Pfizer vaccine is recommended for them.

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