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expert reaction to preprint on the severity of the omicron variant and vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic infection in Scotland, from the EAVE II study

A preprint, unpublished non-peer reviewed data, from the EAVE II study, looks at severity of Omicron variant and vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease in Scotland.

This Roundup accompanied an SMC Briefing.


Prof James Naismith, Director of the Rosalind Franklin Institute, and Professor of Structural Biology, University of Oxford, said:

“Although small in number, the study is good news. The two thirds reduction in hospitalisation of double vaccinated young people compared to Delta indicates that Omicron will be milder for more people.

“There are a few things to bear in mind.

“The study is rigorous but it is early (thus might change a bit with more data and more studies will report in the weeks ahead). It should be noted that some South African scientists have been saying Omicron was milder for some time.

“Since the study was early in the pandemic, it focussed on younger people. The elderly are of course more vulnerable.

“Although two thirds reduction is significant, Omicron can cause severe illness in the doubly vaccinated. Thus if Omicron continues to double every few days, it could generate many more hospitalisations than Delta from the double vaccinated population.

“In my view the best news in the study is the observation that the booster is highly effective at reducing serious illness from Omicron.

“Put crudely we have more time to get more people boosted, we can’t waste a moment of it.

“Everything we can do as individuals to slow spread gives us more time.

“In my view, there is now solid reason to favour a more optimistic outcome of Omicron in the UK than was feared.

“None of this should diminish the loss of lives that will still happen nor the work of health professionals who are exhausted.”



‘Severity of Omicron variant of concern and vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease: national cohort with nested test negative design study in Scotland’ is an unpublished preprint by Aziz Sheikh et al.



All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:



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