No evidence to suggest existing vaccines don’t work on Omicron: Govt

New Delhi: There is no evidence to suggest that existing Covid vaccines do not work on the Omicron variant, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Tuesday.

“While there is no evidence to suggest that existing vaccines do not work on Omicron, some of the mutations reported on spike gene may decrease the efficacy of existing vaccines,” he told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

Responding to a question on whether the vaccines being administered in the country are effective to develop immunity against the Omicron variant, he informed the house that there is limited available data, and no peer-reviewed evidence, on vaccine efficacy or effectiveness to date for Omicron. However, vaccine protection is also by antibodies as well as by cellular immunity, which is expected to be relatively better preserved.

“Hence, vaccines are expected to still offer protection against severe disease and, vaccination with the available vaccines remains crucial,” he emphasised.

The Union Health Ministry, in a statement on Tuesday morning, said that the number of cases of new Covid strain Omicron has crossed the 200 -mark in India. However, out of them, 77 patients have recovered or migrated.

Meanwhile, it has asked all states and UTs to gear up against the Omicron variant as it is three times more transmissible than the Delta variant, and formulate a strategy that can ensure the infection is contained at the local level itself before it spreads to other parts of the state.