Covid Crisis Coordination Office (GECKO) keeps a close eye on omicron variants

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The Corona situation has eased in Austria. However, there are the new Omicron variants, BA.4 and BA.5, which have already started a new wave rolling in South Africa. These are now being closely monitored.

Four scenarios for the fall
The first cases have already been detected in Austria as well. The nationwide Covid Crisis Coordination Office (GECKO) is closely monitoring developments. The new report states that it will soon be possible to make further assessments. The absolute priority at the moment is to prepare for autumn.

Omicron variants are closely monitored in Austria
The crisis coordinators, led by Katharina Reich and Rudolf Striedinger, have received the draft variant management plan presented by Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens) “for review.” One is “still fully involved in the preparations for the fall,” says the report published Saturday at the latest meeting on May 3.

Does prior Omikron infection protect one?
Currently, the new Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 are increasingly coming into focus. In South Africa – where they have dominated the Corona scene since April – new infections and, in some cases, hospital occupancy rates have been rising for the past two weeks. It is unclear whether the decoupling of infection incidence and hospital occupancy is as strong with the new variants with Omicron BA.1. And: Current data suggest that a previous BA.1 infection does not provide sufficient protection against infection with BA.4/BA.5, the Gecko experts point out.

They have little hope that remaining refuseniks in Austria can still be persuaded to receive the Corona vaccination. However, the responsive group of the still unvaccinated is small, partially immunized by recovery, and currently sees little reason to get vaccinated. With the high Omicron infection numbers, only about six percent were neither vaccinated nor recovering recently – and with Omicron, the “health risk perception” among the unvaccinated has declined. “It is therefore recommended that vaccination communication be increasingly directed toward maintaining the vaccination protection of those already vaccinated,” the Gecko report said.

  • source: vienna.at/picture: pixabay.com
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