Pfizer Is Saying This May Be Needed To Beat The Omicron Variant

The coronavirus is making its way through the letters in the Greek alphabet and the newest variant is the Omicron variant. First identified in South Africa, the variant has travelled to over 50 countries, including the United States, in the span of a month (via Washington Post). "The data out of South Africa suggest that the Omicron variant is spreading more quickly than Delta," Janet Baseman, an epidemiologist told The New York Times.

The severity of the variant and its mutations are still to be seen in studies but most experts agree that the initial symptoms point to a milder version of the previous variants. Hospitalization rates haven't surged the way cases have in South Africa, and the demand for oxygen is low, per New York Times. However, the highly transmissible Omicron is considered to be a cause "of concern" by the World Health Organization but "not a cause for panic," according to President Joe Biden (via White House). Pfizer, one of the key players in developing COVID-19 vaccines, have also sent out a statement about the Omicron variant that may give us insight into how we can stay protected.

A booster shot could help with protection

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans to get vaccinated and then, get a booster shot as well, saying, "Vaccines remain the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission, and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging." Booster shots are now authorized by the FDA , which means that you should get a booster to avoid severe symptoms.

Upon initial testing, Pfizer and BioTech have said that their boosters can provide significant protection from the variant as fewer antibodies were found in those who did not have boosters. This means that the fourth dose, which was projected to be twelve months after the third shot by Albert Bourla, Pfizer's chief executive, will be moved up (via CNBC). Right now, all health organizations and professionals agree: get the booster shot for protection against the Omicron variant. Bourla said it's "highly likely" that more variants would come up and this is the best way to stay protected through the winter. "People need to be told to get boosted now and not wait the three to four months for a specific Omicron vaccine," Dr. Robert Wachter said to The New York Times.