COVID Cases Dip In The State As Omicron-Targeted Vaccine Trials Begin

Tuesday, January 25th 2022, 5:20 pm

OU Health’s Chief COVID officer Dr. Dale Bratzler feels "cautiously optimistic" after seeing two days of lower COVID case numbers in Oklahoma. 

He said testing numbers are down, staffing numbers are back up within OU Health and their hospitalization numbers are also slightly down. Dr. Bratzler said typically Monday and Tuesday have been the days we see lower case counts, so it's crucial to watch the numbers as the week progresses.  

"I think by the end of this week we will have a good idea if we're actually trending down or whether this is just a blip in testing or not," said Dr. Bratzler. 

Tuesday Pfizer announced its starting trials for an Omicron specific vaccine. 

"So the question, I think going forward is will that new vaccine play a big role in terms of what happens going forward in this particular pandemic," said Dr. Bratzler. 

The Lynn Institute's President and CEO is very hopeful that variant specific vaccines and the amount of people with new immunity could together be a game changer. 

The institute here in the OKC metro is helping with Pfizer's trial right now. 

"So, if you haven't been vaccinated or boosted, we have an opportunity for you to come to the Norman office receive the vaccine, get compensation for time and travel get that protection," said Blanco. "Then in a few weeks you would be eligible to get the Omicron variant boost." 

Blanco expects a trial for people that are vaccinated to start in just a few weeks. He told News 9 they also have a Moderna trial underway for vaccines that target the Delta variant. They will also be helping with Moderna's Omicron specific vaccine trial in a few weeks. 

Dr. Bratzler said for now the two-shot series with a booster is providing enough protection from complications. He said people have asked if currently they should get a second COVID booster. 

"I haven't found any evidence that getting a second booster is going to help you at this point," said Dr. Bratzler. "But there may be an omicron specific variant down the road, and if these studies show that it's tremendously helpful in reducing cases then my recommendation would be to wait and see if there's an omicron specific variant." 

To contact the Lynn Institute, click here.