Omicron variant: Here’s why experts recommend the booster shot this holiday season
There are more concerns about the new COVID-19 omicron variant as cases continue to spike in parts of the U.S.
In the U.S., a ban is in effect restricting travel from South Africa and seven other countries. There are also serious concerns by the medical community, especially entering the holiday season.
As health experts are still learning more about the variant, it's unclear if the variant causes more severe cases of the virus or how the vaccines protect from the new variant.
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"I think it's very important to practice all safety measures at any of your holiday gatherings this year until we have more information. If you're thinking about traveling, there's a ban in place now so it's important to reconsider your travel bans and make sure you're traveling safe, especially if a high-risk individual. I think we'll have more information in about three weeks or so on whether or not our vaccine is going to be able to protect us against this variant," says Dr. Deena Adimoolam-Gupta, of Primary Care Prevention and Endocrinology.
Gov. Phil Murphy advises residents to continue following existing COVID-19 protocols and safety habits.
It comes as hospitalizations in the state are up almost 40% in a month. The director of the National Institutes of Health agrees the best protection against all COVID-19 variants is to get vaccinated and says those who are already vaccinated should get the booster.
The CDC director recommends the booster to all adults 18 and older.
Omicron was first discovered in South Africa, and Japan and France confirmed their first cases today. Countries around the world are scrambling to close their doors and find ways to limit its spread.