Omicron Variant

Local Health Leaders Urge Residents to Get Booster Shot as Research on Omicron Variant Continues

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As the Bay Area braces for possible cases of the new Omicron variant, hundreds of people make their way to local clinics to get receive added protection and get their booster shot.

In addition, health leaders say we are poised to detect the variant early and point at ways people can protect themselves.

"We have a robust sequencing program so when and if we see Omicron we can detect it quickly, but as of now there are no cases in Santa Clara County," Dr. Sara Cody said.

Despite there being no known cases of Omicron in the South Bay, the variant is triggering travel bans across the world.

"I'm sure it will make it to the U.S. eventually, so if we have the opportunity to protect ourselves why not, right," said San Jose resident Ashley Noor.

Health leaders say getting a booster shot is a smart strategy to help fight a variant that is much different than others. Omicron has more than 50 mutations while the Delta variant has less than 20. Many of Omicron's variants are located at the business end of the virus.

UCSF Infectious Disease specialist Dr. Peter Chin Hong said that "if this looks so different to the antibodies we have developed from the vaccine or from natural exposure they may not recognize this new enemy in town, and the fact that many of the mutations are on the end here means it could potentially be stickier and enter the body easier compared to even Delta."

Dr. Sara Cody said even though we don't know a lot about the Omicron variant yet, vaccinations, booster shots, masking and good ventilation are still solid weapons in fighting any variant of COVID.

"We don't really have the data to know enough it, but I wanted to do what I can to stay safe," said San Jose resident Abi Bautista.

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