Omicron variant: Epidemiologist explains why we need third jab
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Omicron has continued to sweep across the UK, with another 1,576 cases reported on Monday (December 13). It’s essential that everyone gets tested for Covid if they develop any of the key warning signs – but Omicron symptoms might appear to be slightly different from previous variants.
Almost 5,000 cases of Omicron have been reported in the UK since its emergence last month.
It was initially sequenced in Botswana, and then South Africa at the end of November, before cropping up all over the world.
It’s still not entirely clear whether two Covid vaccines will be enough to protect against the most severe symptoms of Omicron.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has recently confirmed the person has died from Omicron in the UK.
The symptoms of coronavirus still include the most common cough, high fever, and loss of taste and smell.
But Omicron also has some symptoms that are specific to that particular variant, according to GP Dr Gary Bartlett.
Patients are more likely to develop a strange scratchy feeling in their throat, he warned.
Persistent tiredness, muscle aches, and even night sweats, could all be signs of Omicron infection, added the doctor.
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Dr Bartlett told Express.co.uk: “Symptoms of Omicron may initially seem more mild compared to infection from the Delta variant.
“The Omicron variant of COVID-19 may very well cause the well-known usual symptoms, such as stuffy runny nose, fever, persistent cough (cough for more than half a day) sore head and throat, and loss of sense of taste and smell.
“Symptoms which may be more specific to omicron include a scratchy throat as opposed to a sore throat, a dry persistent cough, extreme tiredness and fatigue, muscle aches and pains, and night sweats.
“These may be the first and only symptoms of the Omicron variant. It can be difficult to distinguish between COVID-19 and the common cold without PCR testing.”
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Just because you’ve caught Covid in the past, it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t catch the Omicron variant, added Dr Bartlett.
It’s absolutely essential that everyone looks out for any of the classic flu-like symptoms – even those that have been triple vaccinated.
Even mild symptoms should be followed up with a PCR test, he warned.
Lateral flow tests are handy for those without symptoms, but they’re not as sensitive at detecting coronavirus compared with PCR tests.
Earlier this month, the Prime Minister revealed plans to ramp up the booster vaccine programme, in a bid to stop the spread of the Omicron variant.
Everyone over the age of 18 will be eligible to book their vaccine from Wednesday December 15.
The aim is to offer booster jabs to all adults by the end of December.
More than 40 percent of adults in the UK have already received a booster vaccine.
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