Saskatchewan’s Official Opposition wants to see a plan to deal with the latest COVID-19 variant, Omicron. NDP Leader Ryan Meili says in light of a new UK Health Security Agency study which shows low vaccine protection against the variant with just two doses, but increased effectiveness with a third, the booster shot program should be accelerated.
The provincial NDP wants expanded eligibility as quickly as possible, and a plan in place should Omicron start driving a fifth wave. Meili suggests if there is another rise in cases, being fully vaccinated could mean having a booster shot as well as the two doses. He wonders at what point that would be required. Meili would also like to see a plan for when Saskatchewan people could expect gathering restrictions, if there were to be a fifth wave.
The technical paper released by the UKHSA last week estimates the Omicron variant will likely account for more than half of all COVID-19 infections in the United Kingdom by mid-December. Preliminary findings also suggest that two doses of AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines provided much lower levels of protection against Omicron than they did against the Delta variant, but with a booster shot, effectiveness was between 70 and 75 per cent.
Meili says, “We’ve seen the consequences of not acting soon enough. We need real leadership before it’s too late.”