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Local expert weighs in on Omicron variant

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 4:10 PM CST
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PEORIA (25 News) - The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is making headlines around the world after being discovered in South Africa ahead of Thanksgiving. The discovery of the new variant has resulted in travel restrictions to the United States.

With the COVID-19 Pandemic appearing to not ramp down any time soon, this near variant poses more questions as to how this could change how we fight the virus.

“It was just sequenced in South Africa. You know, the two main concerns are is it more transmissible than the, you know, most previous variants or the most recent variants like delta? And the other thing is, does it reduce vaccine efficacy significantly or does it escape immunity?” Said Abeer AlMajali, M.D. of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria.

Dr. AlMajali said that when preparing for the possibility of the Omicron variant first, you need to get vaccinated if you haven’t and get the booster if you have been previously vaccinated. She said to continue wearing masks when indoors and avoid public gatherings and continue using proper hand hygiene.

The questions that are left unanswered for now should be addressed in the coming weeks. The most important of which is whether or not Omicron will break through the vaccine. Dr. AlMajali said that if that is the case, a new vaccine will need to be developed.

She said to keep practicing what you have been doing since the beginning and to not panic.

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