While we were still dealing with the "delta" variant of COVID-19, here comes a new strain "Omicron" which is spreading much more rapidly all across the world. Well, people ask whether they can still get COVID after 2 doses of the vaccine. The answer is yes. This new variant, "omicron", has the striking ability to evade the immunity from antibodies you develop from standard two doses of vaccine. Omicron coronavirus has very high transmissibility, which can spread rapidly. But suppose you have got a booster dose. In that case, you are comparatively protected from omicron infection or even if the symptoms are going to be mild.
The immunity you get from two standard doses of the COVID vaccine gradually fades away. After several months the levels of effective antibodies are very low to protect you from new attacks of the omicron variant of coronavirus.
Luckily the omicron infection is clinically less severe, and the chance of complicated infection and hospitalization are overall low. But unvaccinated people certainly are at greater risk of getting complicated COVID infection and about ten times more at risk of hospitalization than vaccinated people. Experts suggest that the best way to stay safe in this new pandemic wave is t get a booster dose after the standard vaccination schedule.
Suppose you have already got your booster dose of vaccine. In that case, it can effectively restore the antibodies level required to combat the omicron virus. Latest studies have suggested that the booster dose of any of the available vaccines in the market has effectively resisted this new variant of COVID. But the people who have not got a booster are at risk of getting the infection. Again, a partially vaccinated person is still on the safe edge to avoid a severe infection than a totally unvaccinated person.
How does a booster dose work?
When you get 1st dose of the vaccine, your body detects the foreign material and starts preparing antibodies against it. The second dose amplifies this behavior, and you can get sufficient quantities of antibodies. After several months, the antibody level starts declining, as indicated by the latest studies in the US, Russia, and worldwide. Experts had predicted this outcome and said that a booster dose would be required. Your body remembers the original code; it only needs a stimulus to re-activate the process of antibody production.
Can you get Omicron if you have your booster dose?
With the booster dose, you have a 75-85% chance that you won't even get the infection. And the reported cases of Omicron after a booster have got only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all when tested positive for it. Many people who were interviewed after being tested said that they just had the feeling of flu in its mildest form, which did not bother their routine work. And many people only knew they had asymptomatic omicron infection incidentally after rapid kit test resulted positive.
How does Omicron affect vaccines?
The research is ongoing on this aspect, and initial reports say that Omicron has modified itself with 30 mutations in spike protein compared to the original COVID-19 virus. Apparently, it has adopted an escape mechanism against antibodies generated by standard 2 doses of Moderna or Pfizer or a single shot of the J&J vaccine. Especially when antibody levels fall in blood. In a study in the UK, the vaccine efficacy of two doses of Pfizer dropped to 40% after 15 weeks of the second dose for Omicron. That was not the case with the Delta variant of this virus. Two doses remained effective for the delta virus. Several other studies in France, Israel and South Africa showed similar results of declining ability of antibodies to fight against the omicron virus.
How much can booster dose protect you?
Boosters still work against Omicron. Studies have shown that a booster dose of Pfizer vaccine increases the levels of antibodies by 25 folds which are powerful enough to neutralize the omicron virus. So, roughly you get 75% protection against symptomatic omicron infection. Moderna booster also showed enhanced ability to wipe out this new virus compared to standard doses alone.
What symptoms can you get if you catch Omicron after booster?
There is no evidence of severe symptoms or hospitalizations after the booster dose. Experts suggest that Omicron has comparatively milder attacks despite high transmission rates, and only unvaccinated people are at high risk. Still, you can get the infection in the world of possibilities. If you contract Omicron after the booster, you would have these common symptoms in their mildest form.
Common symptoms of omicron infection reported include:
- Runny nose It might feel like the common cold, which we get casually. You may feel low-grade fever along with it. But it will usually go away in a couple of days, and there is no need to worry about it.
- Headache If you often get a headache, probably it's going to distract you from focusing on work. But its intensity will be mild, and you can take simple painkillers to deal with a mild headache.
- Fatigue It is usually perceived in the initial stages when viral load is high. Your body starts a protective inflammatory process that burns energy sources to combat the infection. But as you have got a booster dose, soon your antibodies will overcome the viral load, and you will feel just fine.
- Sneezing It's probably more of a concern for people with chronic nasal allergies. That is, any irritant prompts sneezing and stuffy nose at once. You can have anti-allergic and painkiller medications to overcome this problem. It is significantly less likely that you get a superadded bacterial infection with it. If you feel in trouble, immediately consult a nearby healthcare facility.
- Sore throat People who have got omicron infection reported having a mild sore throat. Still, no details are available if, after the booster, any infection got worse. Mild irritation and sore throat can be treated with painkillers and anti-allergic.
What should you do to stay healthy in this pandemic of Omicron?
World health organization and CDC recommends taking some preventive measures to save you from getting infected from COVID infection and avoid complications if you get infected anyway.
- Get Vaccinated, and Mask up People ask if they need to wear a mask even after vaccination. Yes! You still have to wear a mask, particularly in crowded places, to minimize your chance of getting infected. Complete your schedule of vaccines with a booster dose.
- Stay Active Remain physically active and do some aerobic exercise every day to keep your body active and strengthen immunity.
- Get adequate Sleep To keep your body healthy and fresh, you need to take proper Sleep and rest. Physical or mental exhaustion is unhealthy for the immune system.
- Diet and nutrition Take a balanced diet containing whole foods like dark, leafy greens, fish oil, a good amount of proteins, and many fluids to keep your body hydrated. Cut down your sugar and salt.
- Coping with Stress and Anxiety Keep away from stress and anxiety. Try to stay calm and relaxed. Improve your personal relationships. Staying happy and healthy will help you cope with any infection and illness.
If you think you may have Omicron symptoms (or frankly, any cold-like symptoms too) it's important that you get a COVID test as soon as possible. We know it's tempting to settle for an at home COVID test, but lab based PCR tests are much more accurate at identifying Omicron. To keep yourself and your family safe, find a Rapid PCR test near you today with Test Near Me.