Is the Omicron variant something to be worried about?
As the pandemic nears two years, a new set of travel bans are taking effect as governments around the world worry about the spread of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Little is known so far about this new variant as scientists and public health officials race to learn more, including whether the existing safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines would work in preventing illness caused by Omicron.
What is known, though, is that the vaccines have worked well against other variants, including the highly transmissible Delta variant. Even though some cases break through in vaccinated people, the vast majority of serious illness and death is among the unvaccinated.
So even though little is known about Omicron, getting vaccinated and a booster shot is a good way to be prepared.
“What’s most important is to emphasize that this virus is still around and still circulating, and that vaccination remains your most important tool against it,” Dr. Robert Citronberg, executive medical director of infectious disease and prevention, told ABC-7 Chicago on Monday morning.
Vaccine makers have said they’re planning to work on updated vaccines that will offer increased protection against Omicron. That happens regularly with annual flu vaccines, which are changed regularly to protect against different strains.
“The most important thing is not to panic. This (variants) is an expected event during the course of the pandemic,” Dr. Citronberg said.
Want to learn more about vaccines or how to get one? Visit aah.org/vaccine
About the Author
Mike Riopell, health enews contributor, is a media relations coordinator with Advocate Aurora Health. He previously worked as a reporter and editor covering politics and government for the Chicago Tribune, Daily Herald and Bloomington Pantagraph, among others. He enjoys bicycles, home repair, flannel shirts and being outside.