Are booster shots effective against the omicron variant?

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 3:11 PM EST
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - In the past weeks, the omicron coronavirus variant has made its way into the United States.

The variant is still in its youth here, as delta continues to dominate the landscape.

Knowledge about omicron is still limited at this point.

“There’s still a lot we don’t know about omicron,” said Kim Foster, Central Virginia Health District population health community coordinator. “We do know that it has a high number of mutations. Some of those are concerning because they might allow for immune escape, meaning, there’s a potential for an increased risk of re-infection. It might also be more transmissible.”

Foster says despite the unknowns, booster shots are still recommended.

She says the current shots are effective.

“Our current vaccines are expected to remain effective against getting severe disease and death and they still are a critical part of preventing illness,” said Foster.

Pfizer announced Wednesday that a third dose of its vaccine has shown to be effective against omicron, with better coverage than just two shots.

But could there be a tweak to vaccines because of the new variant? Foster says that’s still up in the air.

“We don’t know how long it’s gonna take for any kind of modified booster, if that even becomes such a thing, to come out, so definitely recommend getting those antibody levels as high as you can and getting your booster,” said Foster.

Omicron has not yet been detected in the commonwealth.

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