The Omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 is now expected to completely replace the Delta variant in Thailand within this month. A top virologist is meanwhile suggesting that using just half the normal dosage of the Moderna vaccine in booster injections can reduce side effects while adequately raising immunity
Dr Yong Poovorawan, head of Chulalongkorn University’s Center of Excellence in Clinical Virology, wrote in a Facebook post that the Omicron variant spreads rapidly and will replace all other variants within this month.
The virologist explained that in Thailand, the Delta variant took 2-3 months to replace the Alpha variant. However, he said the even faster-spreading Omicron variant is now detected in 90% of samples after having had just one month to spread. In December of last year, most of the Omicron samples studied by the virology center were from international travelers, but all samples acquired since the start of this year have been from local transmission cases.
Dr Yong also wrote about side effects from the COVID vaccines in current use, as observed in studies of booster shots administered to people who had been fully inoculated via inactivated vaccines. The least side effects were observed in people who received the Sinopharm inactivated vaccine as a booster, with no reported cases of fever. The majority of side effects in this group involved pain in the injection area. Side effects were clearly more prominent in people who had received viral vector or mRNA vaccines as their booster.
According to the virologist, full-dosage mRNA boosters trigger more side effects than half-dose deliveries. Half-dose injections of the Moderna vaccine were able to adequately raise immunity levels while producing fewer side effects. (NNT)