Colombo, Feb 15 (DailyMirror) – The rapidly spreading Omicron variant can be fatal if people fail to take their COVID-19 vaccines and the booster doses which are now available to all those above the age of 20 years, health experts warned yesterday.
Sri Lanka is presently recording an average of 30 deaths caused by the COVID-19 virus per day, and most of these deaths are of those suffering from comorbidities and those who have not taken their vaccines.
In fact health experts have signalled caution over a rising anti-vaccine and anti booster campaign that is now spreading in the country which has resulted in the booster programme still remaining at a ‘baby stage’.
A percentage of people are yet to even take their initial two vaccines, putting their lives at risk from the rapidly spreading virus.
Despite a booster dose now available for all those above the age of 20 years, the vaccines were drying up with no takers and most are expected to expire by July.
Health experts on ground said that with Sri Lanka presently in the midst of a massive Omicron wave sweeping through the country, people were urged to take their vaccines and boosters as the Omicron variant was also fatal and was claiming lives daily.
In fact, the number of those testing positive presently was far higher than those being officially reported and the number of hospitalisations had also increased. Although the situation was better than the havoc caused by the Delta variant, health officials said that those with comorbidities, the elderly and those unvaccinated were vulnerable to the Omicron variant and the situation was still far from normal.
“We don’t know the actual caseload, but the situation is far from normal. The caseload has risen tremendously due to the Omicron variant, and those who have not taken the boosters are still vulnerable. Those who are fully vaccinated with all three doses will not require to be admitted in the ICU or be on a ventilator if infected,” a senior doctor told Daily Mirror.
“Those fully vaccinated have a better chance at survival,” he added.
Doctors have advised that if anyone suffers from the common cold, headache, fatigue, sneezing, sore throat, persistent cough, hoarse voice, chills or shivers, fever, dizziness, muscle pain, loss of smell or chest pain, they should get a PCR test done immediately and isolate at home till they receive the result.
If the symptoms are not severe, people can receive home care, but if the symptoms get worse they have been advised to get admitted to a nearby hospital.
People have been urged not to pass off the symptoms of the common flu and seek medical advice and get tested immediately. (Jamila Husain)