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My O-Micron! Answering Questions Regarding Boosters and the Omicron Variant

All kidding aside with the title of this section, like others, you may have questions about Omicron, the COVID-19 variant that is taking the world by storm.  Here are some updates to keep things in perspective.

What is Omicron?

  • A newer COVID-19 variant of concern.  It was first brought to our attention by astute clinicians in South Africa on November 24, 2021.  It has since been noted that it was already / is present in other countries around the world too.

How does it compare to the Delta variant?

  • Much more easy to catch than the Delta variant.  And by the time this goes to print, it is expected to be the dominant strain in Canada and many other countries around the world.
  • Each Omicron case infects four to eight times more people than the Delta variant.
  • If you look at graphs of COVID-19 “waves”, the recent Omicron section looks more like a steep cliff – that means lots of people are getting it in a very short period of time.

I had COVID-19 or the Delta variant, am I immune to Omicron?

  • Unfortunately, Omicron is able to infect you even if you have been previously infected with Delta and had 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

What’s up with the recent push for 3rd / booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine?

  • TWO doses of vaccine would have been 70-90% protective against Delta, but TWO doses is only 30-40% protective against Omicron. 
  • The 3rd dose will increase your antibodies against COIVD-19 by 25-35%.  Omicron is less able to infect you if you get THREE doses of COVID-19 vaccine.  The 3rd dose is important to get ASAP!  

I’ve heard Omicron is very contagious, but “mild” and will make people less sick – so why bother with the 3rd dose?

  • Omicron is very infectious.  Many more people will get it, even those who are vaccinated.  But those who are vaccinated tend to fare better.
  • If 3rd dose vaccination prevents more people overall from getting Omicron, that still helps our hospitals and ICUs.  Reason: Even if only a small percentage of people who get Omicron need the hospital or ICU, if there are many, many more people getting Omicron, a small percentage of many, many people may still be too many people than we have ICU beds for.  As an example, 5% of a very large pie is more pie than a 5% of a small pie.  They are both “only” 5%, but in absolute size – or in the case of Omicron, the actual number of people – the bigger the pie, the bigger the entity of what we get to handle.
  • We know those with diabetes that get COVID-19 don’t tend to do as well as people without diabetes – fare worse, longer recovery, increased rate of death.  So if you have diabetes, it is important to protect yourself and decrease your risk of getting this.

Here’s a question for you:  If you have diabetes and get ill, dehydrated or have a loss of appetite, do you know how to adjust your insulin or know which medications to temporarily stop taking? 

  • If you are not sure how to adjust your insulin during illness, or whether you need to stop any of your other medications, we encourage you to ask your Certified Diabetes Educator or healthcare provider.
  • If you live in Ontario, please book an appointment to receive a free, personalized Sick  Day Care Plan from the Diabetes Depot CDE Pharmacist via [email protected]

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