By Pam Wright
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Chatham Voice again reached out to ask a series of COVID-19-related questions to Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health Dr. David Colby.
The Voice: If you have contracted the COVID-19 omicron virus and experienced a mild to moderate case, what’s next? Do you have super immunity against the virus? Will you require another booster and when?
Colby: There is some immunity from natural infection but immunity from the vaccine lasts longer, so you should still get a booster after infection. Anytime after symptoms subside is OK, but most experts say 30 days later is better.
If you had omicron, can you still contract other variants such as delta? Has delta disappeared, and if not, what is the status of that strain of the virus? Can you catch omicron again?
Colby: There is still some delta circulating, but over 90 per cent of infections are omicron. Omicron can infect people who recently had Delta. Immunity to coronaviruses does not last long, so get boosted to prevent reinfection.
There is much talk that omicron will become “endemic” and that getting the virus is inevitable? Some people are even saying they want to “get it over with” and are seeking exposure to the virus similar to “chickenpox parties” held back in the day? What are your thoughts?
Colby: Most people will get infected with omicron over time but vaccination is excellent at protecting against severe disease outcomes. COVID could become endemic but there are a lot of unknown variables. I think it’s crazy to deliberately try to get infected with COVID or chickenpox. You might have a very bad experience!
When do you expect the current wave of omicron to peak?
Colby: I think the current omicron wave will peak before the end of January.
What percentage of the population do you think will be infected with omicron?
Colby: I can’t put a number on it, but it will be high.
We are hearing that people are refusing the Moderna vaccine opting to wait for Pfizer instead? Your thoughts?
Colby: From the outset I have suggested that people accept the vaccine that is offered to them. Pfizer has a lower incidence of myocarditis (a rare and mild vaccine side effect in people under 30), but Moderna boosts better and is longer lasting in older people. Both vaccines are safe and effective, but we offer people the best vaccine for their own personal circumstances.