CDC emphasizes the importance of booster shots in light of Omicron variant


(WFXR) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new recommendation after the recent emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

The CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, released this statement surrounding the new variant:

Today, CDC is strengthening its recommendation on booster doses for individuals who are 18 years and older. Everyone ages 18 and older should get a booster shot either when they are 6 months after their initial Pfizer or Moderna series or 2 months after their initial J&J vaccine.

The recent emergence of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19. Early data from South Africa suggest increased transmissibility of the Omicron variant, and scientists in the United States and around the world are urgently examining vaccine effectiveness related to this variant. I strongly encourage the 47 million adults who are not yet vaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible and to vaccinate the children and teens in their families as well because strong immunity will likely prevent serious illness. I also want to encourage people to get a COVID-19 test if they are sick. Increased testing will help us identify Omicron quickly.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director

The CDC’s website lists several ways to help stop the spread of COVID. It states that to protect yourself and others, you should get vaccinated, wear a mask, stay six feet away from others, avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, get tested to prevent spreads to others, wash your hands often, cover coughs and sneezes, clean and disinfect, and monitor your health daily.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) is working with the CDC and federal partners in monitoring for new variant cases. As of this writing, there have been no cases of this variant identified in the U.S.

“Once again, we see how unpredictable viruses can be. Viruses change and mutate all the time, and as we learn more about this new variant, we need to continue taking precautions to reduce infections,” said State Health Commissioner M. Norman Oliver, M.D., M.A. “We all want this pandemic to end. Please, if you haven’t been vaccinated already and are eligible, get vaccinated. And if you are eligible for a booster, please get your booster as soon as you can. Please continue to do those things that we know can help reduce virus transmission, such as wearing a face mask, social distancing, frequent hand washing, staying home if you are sick, and getting tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms or if you have had a known exposure to someone with COVID-19.”

If you are looking to get tested, check out the testing locations on the VDH testing website.

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