Medical Technology

CDC: Boosters Key in Protecting Against Omicron

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The majority of the 43 cases of COVID-19 Omicron variant that were found in the United States were mild and occurred in people who were vaccinated, but boosters are effective against it, according to the report that the CDC released Friday.

Of the 43 people with cases the majority were between 19 and 39 years old and 34 had been fully vaccined. Nine people had received a booster shot at least two weeks prior to the time they were diagnosed with the disease.

A total of 14 individuals who had Omicron reported having traveled internationally, and six had been previously infected with COVID-19.

“In reported cases so far the majority of people had minor adverse effects, which is what is expected from a group fully vaccine-free,” Rochelle Walensky MD, CDC Director, stated Friday at a White House COVID-19 Team news briefing. “Although we do not have all the answers on the Omicron variant, the initial data suggest COVID-19 boosters help bolster protection against Omicron.”

The Omicron variant has been identified in 25 states.

Walensky mentioned two recent studies from Israel published in TheNew England Journal of Medicine, that examined how well booster shots performed. One study showed that boosters had 90% less chance of death in people over 50 than those who had only two doses. Another study found an increase of 20 times in the severity of illnesses across all age groups for those who had received booster shots, when compared to those who had only two doses.

The CDC extended its guidelines for boosters Thursday for young adults aged 16 and 17 years old, as COVID-19 cases continue to increase.

Walensky stated that there were 118,500 cases per person on average each day over the past seven days – an increase of 37 percent over the week prior. Hospitalizations for COVID-19 have increased by 16% to 7,400 and deaths per day are up 28 percent to 1,100.

Walensky encouraged people to get their children vaccinated and also included an explanation of why Delta is still the predominant variant in the United States, accounting for the majority of COVID-19 cases.

As of now more than 50 million booster doses have been administered in the U.S., and 7 million children ages 5-11 have been vaccinated.

“As a mother of three, I understand the concerns that parents hold for the health and safety of their children,” Walensky said. “These vaccines aren’t only safe, but they’re also highly effective in preventing severe disease or hospitalization and even death.”


News briefing, White House COVID-19 Response Team December. 10 2021.

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