5 Things to Know About the Omicron Variant

Published: December 07, 2021

Asha K. Shah, MD, MS, Director of Infectious Diseases

COVID-19 Isn't Going Away. Vaccination is Crucial.

Get vaccinated or boosted if you haven't already. It's your best line of defense against all variants of COVID-19.

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On November 26, 2021, the World Health Organization classified the B.1.1.529 Omicron as a variant of concern. On December 1, the first case in the U.S. was identified. Shortly after, we saw our first case in Connecticut. Here are 5 things to know right now.

1. Delta is still the main variant of concern circulating in Connecticut and in the United States.

Despite the headlines, Delta still accounts for the majority of COVID-19 cases.

2. Current COVID-19 vaccines are still expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalization and death.

With other variants, like Delta, the COVID-19 vaccine has been very effective. Everyone 5 and older should get fully vaccinated  and boosted as soon as possible against COVID-19.

Booster shots are strongly recommended for those who are:

  • 16 or older and obtained a second Pfizer vaccine at least 6 months ago
  • 18 or older and obtained a second Moderna vaccine at least 6 months ago
  • 18 or older and obtained a single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 2 months ago

3. We are equipped to fight Omicron even though we are still learning about it.

It’s no question that we have come a long way in our fight against COVID-19. Vaccination remains the most effective tool in fighting the pandemic. Masks, when worn properly, protect against all variants. Hand hygiene and social distancing are also very effective. Stay home if you are sick and get tested.

It’s important to continue to use all the tools available to us to fight COVID-19.

4. Remember, viruses mutate all the time.

Meet any scientist or doctor, and they’ll be the first to tell you this happens. Many viruses, not just COVID-19, mutate into other strains. This is seen with the influenza virus every year.

5. You can get infected with the Omicron or Delta variant, even if you’ve had COVID-19 before.

It’s possible to get COVID-19 more than once. That’s why you still need to be vaccinated and boosted when eligible if you have had COVID-19 before.

Protection will always be your best defense against any preventable disease. Get the shot for yourself and for your loved ones.

Stay up to date on Omicron on the CDC website.

Featured Expert/ Author

Infectious Disease, Internal Medicine

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