The Omicron variant spreads more easily than the original COVID-19 virus and the Delta Variant. The CDC expects that anyone with the Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated and do not show symptoms.
The COVID-19 shot remains the best public health measure to protect from COVID-19 and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. This includes primary series and booster shots.
Scientists are still learning how effective COVID-19 vaccines are at preventing infection from Omicron. Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to the Omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in people who are vaccinated are likely to occur. People who are current with the COVID-19 shots and get COVID-19 are less likely to develop the serious illness than those who are unvaccinated and get COVID-19.
ARE THE SYMPTOMS DIFFERENT FROM THE ORIGINAL FORM AND THE DELTA VARIANT?
Persons infected with the Omicron variant may have symptoms similar to previous variants. The severity of symptoms may be affected by COVID-19 vaccination status, other health conditions, age, and history of prior infection.
Omicron generally causes less severe disease than prior variants. Preliminary data suggest that Omicron may cause more mild disease, although some people may still have severe disease, need hospitalization, and could die from the infection with this variant. Even if only a small percentage of people with Omicron infection need hospitalization, the large volume of cases could overwhelm the healthcare system which is why it’s important to take steps to protect yourself.