Bhubaneswar: In view of rise in Omicron cases across the country, Odisha Health & Family Welfare Department is laying emphasis on vaccination of people of all age groups for protection against the new COVID-19 variant.
Even as experts are in opinion that existing COVID-19 vaccines are not effective against Omicron variant, these can minimise the severity rate due to the most contagious virus.
“If not 100%, any COVID-19 vaccine will provide cross-protection against Omicron. The vaccinated person will be hospitalised after being infected with the virus, but the possibility of casualty due to the virus will be very minimal,” said Bijay Panigrahi, Director of State Health & Family Welfare Department, urging people to get vaccinated if not done yet.
The Department appealed to social activists working in rural areas to encourage people to get COVID jab.
“As Omicron infection is on rise in other States, people need to take double doses of COVID vaccine at the earliest here. The Task Force is assessing the situation in every Block of all 30 districts. The CDMOs have been directed to identify unvaccinated population in rural areas. If some people in any village are yet to take the vaccine, the possibility is higher to contract Omicron infection and infect others,” he added.
So far, 4.62 crore doses of COVID vaccines have been administered in Odisha, of which 87.4 lakh beneficiaries have received their first dose. Approximately, 40 lakh beneficiaries are yet to get COVID shots in the State.
With new cases of Omicron variant being reported in Delhi and Rajasthan today, the total count of cases of the new strain in the country has reached 49.
The new COVID variant Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa, is said to be ‘highly transmissible’ than Delta. The variant has spread to several countries including India where six States — Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Gujarat, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh — and two union territories — Delhi and Chandigarh — have reported the cases.