- President Joe Biden will urge Americans to get vaccinated and get a booster shot rather than immediately imposing restrictions.
- The president seeks to alleviate concerns about the new omicron variant.
- Anthony Fauci said they hope to know in the coming weeks how well existing COVID-19 vaccines protect against the variant and how dangerous it is compared to previous strains.
President Biden urged Americans to get vaccinated and receive a booster shot as he sought to ease concerns Monday about the new omicron variant of COVID-19. He will not immediately push for more restrictions to stop its spread, his chief medical advisor said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and Biden’s top COVID-19 adviser, said Monday that there were still no identified cases of the omicron variant in the US but that it was unavoidable for it to make its way into the country eventually.
Fauci states that it is inevitable that the omicron variant will reach the US
Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Fauci said scientists hope to know in the next week or two how well existing COVID-19 vaccines protect against the latest variant and how dangerous it is compared to previous strains, according to The Associated Press.
“We really don’t know,” Fauci said, calling the speculation premature. Any specific omicron vaccine probably couldn’t start production for another two to three months, so getting booster shots is now a, “very important initial line of defense,” said Dr. Paul Burton, medical director for vaccine maker Moderna on Monday.
How dangerous is this new omicron variant?
Biden is scheduled to speak on Monday about the urgency of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 to protect against variants, especially since approximately 80 million Americans ages 5 and older have yet to receive a coronavirus vaccine.
But Biden is not expected to announce new virus-related restrictions, beyond last week’s move to restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries in the region, starting Monday. “It will give us a period of time to improve our preparedness,” America’s leading infectious disease expert Dr. Fauci said to ABC’s “This Week”, according to the AP.
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