A recent Norwegian omicron outbreak at a Christmas party provides early anecdotal evidence on how the variants spreads between vaccinated people and the severity of its symptoms, according to a recent report.
A renewable energy company in Norway made sure all necessary safety precautions were implemented before hosting their annual holiday party, including only inviting vaccinated employees and requiring rapid testing the day prior the party, according to Stian Tvede Karlsen, a company spokesman.
The party was held at an upscale Oslo restaurant for approximately 120 people, including several who recently traveled to South Africa, where the company has a solar panel business.
Over 50% tested positive for COVID-19, with 13 confirmed to have the omicron variant, but none of the people have severe symptoms, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The outbreak, which appears to be the world’s biggest omicron outbreak outside of South Africa, is noteworthy because it occurred among vaccinated people in a country where more than 80% adults are fully vaccinated, the Journal added.
Even though the outbreak spread rapidly, the conditions of the party itself may have contributed, where guests were talking and mingling in an insulated setting for hours, which are ideal conditions for a superspreader event, said Alexandra Phelan, an assistant professor of global and public health law and ethics at Georgetown University.
She added the outbreak suggests the current COVID-19 vaccines are not preventing infections, but may prevent severe disease.
“If they were of working age and young enough to be partying into the night, they were already probably at a low risk,” Phelan said. “The big question that this is starting to add data to, at least anecdotal data, is immune evasion.”