Lutsar: It would be Illogical if vaccines do not work against new strains

Irja Lutsar.
Irja Lutsar. Source: ERR / Siim Lõvi

It would be illogical if the existing coronavirus vaccines do not work at all against new strains of the coronavirus, including the latest Omicron, Virology Professor Irja Lutsar said on Monday.

Speaking about the spread of the new strain on ETV's morning show "Terevisioon", she said: "There are a lot of opinions that the strain is spreading faster or causing more infections, but there is no knowledge and it is difficult to verify these claims. There is a lot of ignorance and confusion."

Lutsar said investigations into the effect of the virus are underway and that some of the new coronavirus drugs coming to market are known to be effective.

"If the new strain spreads well, no matter what we do, it will come here," the professor, a member of the government's scientific advisory council, said.

"The new strain is no surprise. The virus can't afford to die out, it has to come up with new tricks all the time. New mutations always come," Lutsar said. She advised people to get vaccinated and to get their booster doses.

The Omicron strain of coronavirus was detected last week in South Africa and several other countries in southern Africa. Some countries have already introduced flight bans from these countries and new restrictions.

Estonia's coronavirus testing policy: Omicron

Coronavirus testing station. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

It is not mandatory to get tested on arrival to Estonia.

But due to the emergence of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, the Health Board and government are urging people returning from abroad to get a PCR test on arrival. They also recommend staying in isolation until the result has been confirmed.

This process is free for Estonian residents but foreign arrivals will need to pay.

Testing booths have been set up in Tallinn Airport and at the Port of Tallinn.

More information about coronavirus testing can be read on the government's website.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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