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Moderna vaccine less effective against Omicron, says company CEO

Amid the emergence of a new and possibly more severe variant of coronavirus, drug maker Moderna has spooked people declaring that the vaccine will not be as effective against the Omicron virus as it is against the Delta variant, triggering panic amongst people vaccinated with the shot.  

The statement from the pharma company’s chief spurred fresh tensions in the financial markets as stocks dropped to low rates, crude oil figures came down by over a dollar, Nikkei gave up its profits, the Australian dollar hit a year low and global stocks crashed.  

The declaration is being linked to more hospitalizations due to increased sickness and worsened situation across the globe once again after the long 2-year trauma that had grabbed the world. 

The virus’s resistance to the vaccine could mean that people inoculated with Moderna are now exposed and vulnerable to Omicron, especially in the US where more people were given the shot.  

Speaking about the ineffectiveness of the vaccine, the CEO of Moderna Bancel told during a n interview, “There is no world, I think, where (the effectiveness) is the same level we had with Delta.” 

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He added that though time will tell the details we need as more data is required to reach at a conclusion, experts believe the Omicron era is going to be difficult. “I think it’s going to be a material drop. I just don’t know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I’ve talked to are like ‘this is not going to be good’,” Mr Bancel said. 

As per the World Health Organization, Omicron- the newly discovered variant- has a “very high” risk of infection and transmission. The WHO statement had already set off alarms as this would also mean fresh country border closures again, ultimately leading to a decrease in economic stability which was slowly trying to get back on its feet after the recent disaster.  

Just the news of its discovery robbed the global stocks of nearly $2 trillion of its value, according to its Friday stats. Nevertheless, worse situations were averted this week after investors decided to wait on the Omicron data and its characteristics before making any move. 

While the virus’s emergence sparked worries of history repeating itself, US President Joe Biden’s announcement of no lockdowns being imposed in the country helped the markets to reinstate its calm. However, this was before the Moderna CEO made headlines with his statement.  

As of now, the US is urging people to get their booster shots at the earliest as Biden encouraged everyone above 18 years of age to get administered with the vaccine to stay protected. Many countries are calling for a third dose or commonly called a booster dose of vaccine. The UK, Canada, Germany, France, and 33 other nations have started their booster programmes to restore the vaccine’s effectiveness against covid-19 variants. India is yet to make any formal announcement in this regard, though officials said there will be a policy declaration in the next 2 weeks.