- US health authorities recommend Covid vaccine booster for all adults.
- The most recent vaccination guidance in light of the fears generated by the Omicron variant.
- President Joe Biden stated that the variant is cause for concern.
On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced increased urgency for getting the coronavirus vaccine booster, saying that all adults in the country should receive the third shot. This is partly due to fears of the new Omicron variant.
Previously, the federal agency had said that while all adults could receive a booster dose of the vaccine, only those older than 50 years and those working or living in high risk environments should be prioritized, reported the New York Post.
CDC issues new recommendation for booster vaccine in the US
However, due to the increased concern that the Omicron variant has generated, the CDC has now released new guidance stating that everyone over the age of 18 “should” receive the booster vaccine. “Today, the CDC reinforces its recommendation on booster doses for people 18 years of age and older,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement quoted by the Post and the AP.
“The recent appearance of the Omicron variant further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts necessary to protect against COVID-19,” added CDC Director Rochelle Walensky in the statement.
When should you get the booster shot?
The agency said adults should receive the booster shot six months after their second dose of the Moderna and Pfizer injections or two months after the Johnson & Johnson injection, the New York Post said Monday.
Walensky noted that early data from South Africa suggest that the new strain is highly transmissible and that scientists are still evaluating the efficacy of existing vaccines to combat that new strain. In turn, she encouraged anyone who feels sick to get tested for the coronavirus and said that the increased testing and detection will help authorities identify the possible presence of Omicron in the United States.
As CDC releases new guidance on booster vaccine, Biden warns of troubling Omicron variant
On Monday, President Biden declared that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is a cause for concern, but that, “it is not time to panic,” and ruled out that he is considering the implementation of generalized confinement measures in the United States, according to the AP.
In a speech from the White House, the president urged Americans to get fully vaccinated and, including receiving their booster shots, and to resume the use of masks in closed spaces to stop any spread. At the same time, he stated that it was inevitable that the new variant would reach the United States, but indicated that the country has the necessary tools to protect the population, particularly the approved vaccines and booster doses.
Biden calls for unvaccinated citizens to get their shots
According to the AP report, Biden said that when the Omicron variant arrives – and it will come – the United States, “will face this new threat just as it has faced those that have been presented before.” He urged the nearly 80 million Americans age 5 and older who have not been vaccinated to come in for their shots, and the rest of the country to get the booster six months after their last dose.
Biden also called on the entire population to resume the use of masks in all indoor public spaces, a prevention measure that has ceased to be followed in many parts of the country.
Do existing vaccines protect against Omicron?
The president was joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and adviser to the president on COVID-19, who had said earlier Monday that scientists hope to know in the next week or two how well vaccines will protect against the new variant. They should also know more about how dangerous it is compared to the previous ones, reported AP.
“We really don’t know,” said Fauci, in an interview for ABC’s “Good Morning America”, stating that any speculation would be premature. According to the AP, the new variant poses the latest challenge to Biden’s efforts to contain the pandemic, mitigate its impacts on the economy, and restore a sense of normalcy to the United States during the holiday season.
New travel restrictions
Last week, Biden restricted travel from South Africa and seven other southern African countries, a measure that took effect on Monday, November 29, in order to give scientists more time to better understand the Omicron variant and the population to get vaccinated before you get to the United States.
Other nations are imposing strict travel and business restrictions and other measures to prevent the Omicron variant from spreading. Biden said the United States will not follow that course. “If people are vaccinated and wear their masks, there is no need for confinement,” he said.
US to announce measures to combat Omicron variant as more countries increase restrictions
Will the US close the borders again? This Monday, more countries increased restrictions to combat the new Omicron variant, while the White House indicated that President Biden will offer more information on the new variant and the US government’s response.
The United States has banned travel from South Africa and seven other southern African countries as of Monday. “It will give us a period of time to improve our preparedness,” America’s leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said of the ban on ABC’s “This Week”.
New Omicron variant triggers alarms
Fauci says it will take about two more weeks to have more definitive information on Omicron’s transmissibility, severity and other characteristics, according to a White House statement. The South African government responded angrily to the travel bans, which it said are, “similar to punishing South Africa for its advanced genomic sequencing and the ability to detect new variants faster.”
David Hui, a respiratory medicine expert and government adviser on the pandemic in Hong Kong, said the two people who tested positive for the Omicron variant there had received the Pfizer vaccine and had very mild symptoms, such as a sore throat. “Vaccines should work, but there could be a reduction in efficacy,” he said.
What is known about the new Omicron variant?
Fauci, who since Friday has been the visible face of the US response to the threats posed by the Omicron variant, informed the president that the scientific community expects to take another two weeks to obtain definitive information on transmissibility, severity and other characteristics of the strain.
In addition, he reiterated his position that booster doses of vaccines are the best protection against COVID-19 and that all adults should receive one as soon as possible if they were vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna six months or more ago or if they vaccinated with Johnson & Johnson two months or more ago.
More countries impose restrictions
The Netherlands implemented a stricter lockdown on Sunday, which was announced amid a spike in coronavirus cases even before the nation confirmed infections of the new Omicron variant. Bars, restaurants, non-essential shops, cinemas and theaters are some of the public spaces that will have to close from 5 in the afternoon until 5 in the morning, under the new confinement measures.
The restrictions went into effect hours after Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced that at least 13 travelers arriving at Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport on Friday tested positive for the new variant. He asked other people who arrived in the nation last week from southern Africa to take a test.
Will it come to the US?
Although the new Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus has not yet been detected in the United States, it will inevitably”arrive, the country’s infectious disease expert, the renowned Dr. Anthony Fauci, warned on Sunday, November 28.
“We all know that when there is a virus that has already reached several countries, it will inevitably arrive here,” Fauci told George Stephanopoulos, host of the “This Week” on ABC. “The question is: will we be prepared for that?” For more details read this article.
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