Expert warns at risk to remain vigilant with new variants
Two new fast-spreading subvariants of Omicron are causing fresh surges of Covid-19 globally and in Australia.
BA.4 and BA.5 emerged in South Africa and may soon become the dominant strains in Australia, with BA.5 having taken hold in New South Wales. BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron are not thought to be any more lethal than other types of Covid-19.
Associate Professor Yuben Moodley, Deputy Director from the Institute for Respiratory Health said, “Lots of people have built up some immunity from past infections and vaccination, which is helping to make the disease less risky overall.
“But the new subvariants do appear to be spreading more easily.
“This is partly because immunity may be waning, but also because of the mutations the virus has undergone. Many restrictions like face masks have been lifted, which will enable the virus to spread.
“The risk for serious illness does remain for those with underlying health conditions like lung conditions and the elderly.
“It’s vital people get the recommended number of doses to gain maximum protection against existing and emerging variants. And take all the necessary precautions – handwashing, distancing and wearing face masks.
“Even though restrictions have been lifted for face masks in many areas they do play an important role in protecting ourselves.”
Associate Professor Yuben Moodley also said that coronavirus was not going to go away and that there would be recurrent surges.
“I think it’s heading towards annual vaccinations against Covid-19, at least for the foreseeable future, until we really understand the epidemiology of this disease.”