Politics

President Biden encourages booster shots, not more restrictions as Omnicron variant spreads

On Monday, President Joe Biden said the new omicron variant of the coronavirus is a cause for concern but “not a cause for panic.”

He added that he was not considering a widespread U.S. lockdown, but he urged Americans to get vaccinated and receive booster shots as well as return to face masks indoors. 

While speaking at the White House, Biden noted that the arrival of the omicron variant in the U.S. is inevitable, but he indicated that the nation has the tools appropriate to protect Americans, specifically the authorized vaccines and booster shots. Once the new variant makes its way to the country, Bidens aid America will “face this new threat just as we’ve faced those that have come before it.” 

Roughly 80 million Americans 5-years-old and up remain unvaccinated, and in his speech, Biden appealed to those people, asking them to get their shots. He added that everyone who is vaccinated should look to get their booster shots six months after their second dose, and all Americans should get back to wearing face coverings in all indoor public settings.

Due to the new variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention widened its recommendation for booster shots, now including all adults. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, “Everyone ages 18 and older should get a booster shot either when they are six months after their initial Pfizer or Moderna series or two months after their initial J&J vaccine.”

Previously, while the boosters had been approved for all adults, it was only recommended for those 50 years and older or living in long-term care settings.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical adviser, joined President Biden, and he said earlier on Monday that experts hope to know soon the extent to which current COVID-19 vaccines protect against the omicron variant. “We really don’t know,” Fauci said on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” saying that speculation is premature.

He also commented that Americans should prioritize getting their first vaccinations or booster shots rather than waiting for a new formulation if one is needed for the omicron variant.

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: YAKIMA HERALD

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