Meanwhile, Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi said that on Nov. 26, the four omicron cases reported and recorded in the country were fully vaccinated diplomats from another location. The new variant was first discovered in Botswana.
A spokesman for the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has also confirmed that around 90 percent of 62 passengers from South Africa who tested positive for the COVID-19 were fully vaccinated – including all of the 14 passengers infected with the omicron variant. (Related: New "omicron" variant so far detected ONLY in the "fully vaccinated.")
Officially named the B.1.1.529 variant of COVID-19 and classified as variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO), omicron is causing global concern. Many scientists have regarded omicron as the most heavily mutated variant of the coronavirus. Thus far, this COVID-19 variant has been found to have 32 mutations on the spike protein.
Highly transmissible, causing rapid community spread
Recent data from South Africa and other countries, in combination with mutation data, suggest that the omicron variant is highly transmissible.
Omicron has posed a new challenge before the world as it has now been detected in more than 77 countries. The variant has also been detected in at least 30 states in the United States.
"Omicron is spreading at a rate we have not seen with any previous variant," said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Dr. Michelle Groome of the National Institute for Infectious Diseases (NICD) said several provinces in South Africa have reported 19,018 new cases.
As omicron spreads around the globe, Johannesburg's University of the Witwatersrand professor, Penny Moore, said: "Omicron does indeed exhibit immune escape from antibodies."
British scientists have found that two-dose COVID-19 vaccine regimens do not induce enough neutralizing antibodies against omicron.
Virologists from South Africa reported that COVID-19 vaccines offer no meaningful protection as measurable antibody levels plummet in the vaccinated over time. They came to this conclusion after measuring antibody levels in blood plasma samples taken from people who had received two doses of Pfizer mRNA and those who received one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Hong Kong tested blood samples from 25 people who were fully vaccinated with Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine. The study, which used two omicron variants (one from South Africa and one from Nigeria), showed that two doses of China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine failed to generate appreciable numbers of antibodies to neutralize the omicron variants.
Despite the call of leading health experts to halt mass vaccinations given the alarming reports about vaccine safety and efficacy, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci continues to urge all eligible Americans to get vaccinated.
Fauci even talked about giving up "what you consider your individual right of making your own decision for the greater good of society." (Related. Dr. Fauci insists Americans have to "give up" individual rights against the new omicron variant.)
On the other hand, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said that countries introducing mandates in the fight against COVID-19 must ensure that human rights are respected, stressing that forced vaccination is never acceptable.
She also said that vaccine mandates must comply with the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality and non-discrimination, and in no circumstances should people be forcibly administered a vaccine.
Watch the video below to learn more about the COVID-19 omicron variant.
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