Nov. 29, 2021 — President Joe Biden stated Monday that accessible vaccines are anticipated to offer some safety in opposition to the brand new Omicron COVID-19 variant, and federal well being officers are working to assemble extra data on its efficiency earlier than the primary instances are detected in the USA.
He was accompanied by prime infectious illness skilled Anthony Fauci, MD. The president had been briefed by well being officers on Sunday.
Biden stated he doesn’t anticipate lockdowns or tighter restrictions, and he hopes to struggle the variant by growing vaccination charges.
“This variant is a trigger for concern, not a trigger for panic,” he stated. “We’ll struggle this variant with scientific and educated actions and velocity, not chaos and confusion. We’ve extra instruments immediately to struggle the variant than we ever have earlier than.”
Scientists will probably be working over the following a number of weeks to study extra concerning the virus and to find out the extent of safety supplied by accessible COVID-19 photographs. Omicron was first detected in South Africa, prompting Biden to implement a journey ban, and instances have now been reported in a number of European nations in addition to Canada.
Biden praised the South African well being neighborhood for rapidly notifying the world of this variant, and he stated the journey ban was put in place to offer extra time for U.S. residents to get vaccinated and boosted.
“The perfect safety in opposition to this new variant, or any of the variants on the market, is getting totally vaccinated and getting a booster shot,” he stated.
He continued: “Whereas it’ll be a number of weeks earlier than we’ll know every thing we have to find out about how robust the present vaccines defend in opposition to the variant, Dr. Fauci, who’s with me immediately, and our medical staff consider that the vaccines will proceed to offer a level of safety in opposition to extreme illness.”
He urged folks to proceed carrying masks indoors in public settings for an additional layer of safety.
Within the unlikely occasion that the vaccines usually are not efficient in opposition to the variant, Biden stated, the White Home is working with Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson to “develop contingency plans for boosters if wanted.”
“I can even direct the FDA and CDC to make use of the quickest course of accessible with out slicing any corners for security to get these vaccines accepted and in the marketplace, if wanted,” he stated.
However he careworn that that is unlikely.
“As we proceed this effort, let’s bear in mind the place we stand,” he stated. “We’re in a really totally different place as we enter the month of December, in comparison with the place we had been final Christmas.”
He famous that only one% of American adults had been vaccinated final December, and this December, that quantity will probably be over 70%.
“If you’re vaccinated however nonetheless frightened concerning the new variant, get your booster,” he stated. “If you happen to aren’t vaccinated, go get that first shot.”