The Ministry of Health Wellness and the Environment has received confirmation today that the omicron variant strain of the SARS CoV-2 in Antigua and Barbuda.
The omicron variant of concern (VOC), first identified in South Africa in November 2021, was found in a set of samples sent to CARPHA in December 2021. The confirmation comes after the officials and citizens suspected it’s presence due to the recent rise in cases.
The omicron variant is identified by multiple spike protein mutations. Experts believe that it is more transmissible than the other variants, however, it is less severe than Delta and causes mild illness and less hospitalizations and deaths.
The World Health Organisation has so far confirmed five variants of concern circulating globally and data now shows that all five are present in Antigua and Barbuda.
The public is reminded to continue to adhere to the protocols put in place to to prevent and control the disease. These include physical and social distancing, using face masks and practising hand hygiene and cough etiquette as well as vaccination for all those eligible.
Furthermore, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson vaccines are readily available at the vaccination centres in the Multipurpose and Cultural Centre and the Villa Polyclinic.