Your COVID-19 Questions Answered: VA is listening to and answering your questions about the COVID-19 vaccine. This blog post serves as a follow-up to our previous entry. In the seven months since that entry published, our experience with and understanding of COVID-19 and vaccines has increased. As a result, we have new information to share.
What makes the Omicron variant of COVID-19 different from earlier strains?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that the new Omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 is still being tracked and studied. From reviewing early data, however, experts project that the Omicron variant will spread more easily than the original virus.
These experts continue to work to understand more about how the Omicron variant spreads and affects people compared to other forms of the virus. While early data suggest that Omicron infections might be less severe than those of other variants, the transmissibility of the Omicron variant may be much greater. As the variant spreads more easily, the number of people admitted to United States hospitals for COVID-19 has surged in recent weeks.
Will the COVID-19 vaccine protect me from the Omicron Variant?
You can best protect yourself and others around you from the Omicron variant by receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and remaining up-to-date with a booster dose of vaccine. Currently available vaccines were designed to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations and deaths due to infection from the original virus and variants such as Omicron.
They have already proven effective in protecting people from those conditions when infected with the Delta variant. In a recent press briefing, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky explained that people who are unvaccinated are 17 times more likely to be hospitalized and 20 times more likely to die from COVID-19-related issues.
The best way to protect yourself and those you care about from the Omicron variant is to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, remain up-to-date with a booster dose of vaccine, wear a mask and practice physical distancing.
Why is it important to receive a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine?
It is important to receive a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine because doing so keeps you as protected as possible against the virus and future variants. The CDC explains that just like with other vaccines you may have received before, COVID-19 vaccine booster shots help maintain the best level of protection over time.
In other words, by receiving a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine, you are choosing to stay protected at the highest level for the future.
Keep an eye out for more answers to your COVID-19 and vaccine questions and remember to follow good health habits in the meantime. To keep it simple, follow the three W’s: Wear your masks, wash your hands and watch your distance from others.
Links to more information
Omicron Variant: What You Need to Know | CDC
COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review | CDC
Press Briefing by White House COVID-19 Response Team and Public Health Officials | The White House
COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots | CDC