Highly Contagious Omicron Subvariant Becoming Dominant in Iran 

Highly Contagious Omicron Subvariant Becoming Dominant in Iran 
Highly Contagious Omicron Subvariant Becoming Dominant in Iran 

The highly contagious BA.5 subvariant of Omicron is quickly becoming the dominant strain across Iran, accounting for 35-40% of all cases, Hamidreza Jamaati, head of the national Covid science committee, said on Monday. 
“This subvariant is highly transmissible,” he was quoted as saying by ISNA.
The official pointed out that it is the science committee’s recommendation that people wear facemasks in public transport and even in open spaces to avoid contracting the virus. 
The BA.5 variant and its twin the BA.4 can evade antibodies produced by prior infection or vaccines, making them dominant strains in several countries including the United States. 
Jamaati advised that anyone who received the previous Covid vaccine shot over six months ago should get a booster dose, along with teenagers between the ages of 12 and 18 with compromised immunity. 
The government has relaunched the vaccination campaign after the climb in active cases and hospitalizations over the past two weeks. 
On Monday, 1,400 patients tested positive for the coronavirus and five more died from the respiratory disease. The decline in daily infections, compared to previous days, could be linked to the holiday on Sunday, when the public tend not to visit clinics for Covid symptoms or do the test. 



Threat of Complacency  

Despite the eligibility of the majority of Iran’s population for a Covid vaccine, some 20%, around 14 million, have refused to get the shot, another member of the science committee, Mehrdad Haqazali, said on Monday. 
“Many have not gotten the third shot either,” he said, expressing concern over the rise in transmission rates among unvaccinated populations. 
He stated that daily vaccination rates had sharply dropped and that it was dangerous for people to become complacent in face of another peak. 
Only 35,000 jabs were administered over the last 24 hours across the country. 
Health Officials have warned over the past days that low vaccination rates coupled with approaching events that encourage people to gather in enclosed spaces can cause a new wave to form.
Many religious ceremonies will be held over the next two months and schools and universities are set to reopen by the end of summer. 
The BA.4 and BA.5 variants can spread faster than other strains, causing spikes in Asia, Europe, the US and the Middle East. 
Pharmaceutical companies are producing vaccines that can specifically target the two dangerous subvariants. 

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