Why you should get your booster shot in the wake of Omicron rampage

Wednesday December 29 2021
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None of us could have imagined that almost 18 months later, we would still be in the grip of the pandemic. But it is still here.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 3.3 million people have lost their lives to Covid-19 this year — more deaths than from HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis combined in 2020.

In Rwanda, 1,349 people have so far lost their lives to the virus as of 28 December. This is among the lowest Covid-19 mortality rates globally thanks to strict enforcement of coronavirus protocols by the government.

Like the rest of the world, we are now facing a steep wave of infections, driven largely by the Omicron variant.

WHO experts say Omicron is spreading significantly faster than the Delta variant. They also say it is more likely that people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 could be infected or reinfected. But so far evidence shows that the risk of hospitalisation is minimized by vaccines.And more importantly, the most effective way to help protect yourself against symptomatic and severe illness: booster shots.

Most recently, Moderna announced that its Covid vaccine boosters showed a significant increase in antibody levels against omicron.


Pfizer announced similar results earlier this month, offering additional hope that the mRNA boosters provide protection against the omicron variant.

This week, Dr Daniel Ngamije, Minister for Health urged Rwandans to get booster shots as he allayed fears over mixing of the doses. “Research has found that when you get a booster jab with a type of vaccine that is different from what you got before, the body gains more resistance and protection against Covid-19.

Therefore, all people should embrace the booster jab as it is done elsewhere so as to cope with the new variant,” he explained, adding that the country is currently mostly using the Moderna vaccine as a booster jab.

Given that we are all sick of the pandemic, we must do whatever is necessary to have our lives back. Health experts have cautioned us against social gatherings during the festive season to minimize infections as well as get booster shots as soon as they are made available.

Those who are vaccinated and boosted are largely better off if infected. Those who are vaccinated and not boosted probably will have it slightly worse.

All of us want to get back to normal. But there are no short-cuts. We must respect the Ministry of Health guidelines to protect ourselves and others.

If you come into close contact with someone who tests positive, you should also get tested even if you’re vaccinated or had booster shot. If you test positive for Covid, you have to isolate no matter your symptoms.

Even if you are asymptomatic, you still need to isolate for 10 days, starting the count a day after your first positive test. You can always help keep yourself and the people around you safe by getting vaccinated and boosted, wearing a mask in public, washing your hands and reconsidering travel and attending social gatherings. Stay Safe!