In spite of the World Health Organization's admission that the Omicron variant has caused no deaths, certain nations, mainly in Europe, have mandated vaccination.
According to CBN News, preliminary investigations show that Omicron has a genetic structure comparable to that of the common cold, making it more contagious. Nonetheless, hospitalizations in South Africa, where Omicron initially appeared, have not grown dramatically.
Still, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said that there is a "need to be careful before we make any determinations, but thus far the signals are a bit encouraging regarding the severity."
Likewise, the BBC reported that while the WHO has labeled Omicron "a variant of concern," and some experts are alarmed, microbiologist Prof. Calum Semple, who sits on the UK government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies said: "This is not a disaster, and the headlines from some of my colleagues saying 'this is horrendous' I think are hugely overstating the situation."
The news site also noted that there are presently no known examples of the Omicron variant in the United Kingdom.
South African Dr. Angelique Coetzee, who first reported about the new variant, however, noted how the hype and hysteria surrounding Omicron seems a bit too much. She said that while symptoms caused by infections are "unusual," they're relatively "mild" and are no cause for concern.
U.K.'s Labour Party, on the other hand, wants the government to cut down on how long people have to wait between their second vaccine dose and their booster.
Currently, patients may request a booster after five months, but they have to wait another six months before they can actually get one. The Labour Party, the source says, wants to cut the time between the first and second doses to five months.
Fearmongering continues and so do efforts to push back
In addition to Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong, and Israel, a novel Omicron variant is said to have been found in South Africa.
In response, authorities across the globe are reportedly scrambling to impose travel bans and restrictions on countries in southern Africa as their means to stem the spread of Omicron. In fact, countries from that continent have reportedly been put on a travel red list by the UK, and that all incoming travelers have to be quarantined in a hotel for ten days starting Sunday.
Also according to CBN News, Austria plans to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory throughout Europe for the first time in its history. The German government is considering making vaccinations a requirement for some jobs.
Ursula von der Leyen, the EU's top diplomat, believes it's high time to debate a mandatory immunization program for the whole continent.
But while COVID restrictions have become a major problem in Europe, where some countries require citizens to get vaccinated, people no longer want to be sitting ducks. Large-scale and occasionally violent protests have been reported throughout the continent.
"I don't agree with the mandatory vaccinations because these vaccines, I don't think they're great yet," said one Belgian lady who spoke during a demonstration in Brussels.
"The dead from COVID-19 are mostly vaccinated people instead of non-vaccinated. That's in all hospitals," said a Spanish protester in Barecelona.
"We don't want the COVID-19 passport. We want freedom. It's a human right. We don't want vaccines, neither for us or our children. This is a genocide," said another.