What We Know and Don't Know About the Omicron COVID Variant - WebMD

Either way, you should stay calm, says William Schaffner, MD, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

"Even if it were to be here in the United States, the dominant — the 99% that is causing disease in your community today — that strain is Delta," he says. "And we know the vaccines work against Delta."

Will COVID-19 Vaccines Work Against Omicron?

"We don't know whether the large number of mutations renders the vaccines less effective against this variant," says Wen. "Although many scientists believe — especially with a booster shot — that it's not going to render the vaccines ineffective."

What Are Common Symptoms?

We don't have that information yet, says Wen.

What Can I Do Right Now to Protect Myself and My Loved Ones?

If you are still weighing whether you should get a COVID-19 shot, the Omicron variant is one major reason to get vaccinated as soon as possible, Wen says. "That includes adolescents and children 5 to 11."

This is also a great time to get your COVID-19 booster, according to Schaffner. 

Booster shots raise your antibody levels, which offers you both longer protection and stronger immune response against COVID-19 variants, he says. 

"I can't tell you exactly what it [a booster shot] will do against Omicron, but there is likely to be, at the very least, partial protection," Schaffner says.

"And partial protection is always better than no protection."

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