US coronavirus: As Omicron variant raises concern, experts say it’s time for unvaccinated Americans to get their injections

“I hope that within the next week of two weeks, so much of die people will benefit of the vaccine,” Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, CNN’s Alisyn told Camerota on Friday. “That will help us in the immediate term. And I would anticipate that, if bad as Omicron may be, our vaccine will still be partially effective.”

dr. Anthony Fauci reiterated Schaffner’s position on vaccination and boosters as mitigation tools.

“I say this absolutely clearly that if ever there was a… reason for not vaccinated people get vaccinated and for die who are vaccinated when your time comes up to go get a booster shot,” Fauci told NBC News’ Lester Holt on Friday.

“The booster shots give you a very, very important edge,” he said, pointing out that boosters increase the level of antibodies die to protect against the virus.

Dates from the American centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 196 million Americans, of 59% of The United States population, was fully vaccinated as of Friday. Another 37.5 million have received booster shots, the data shows.
On Friday, the US moved to limit travel of eight mainly South African countries as of Monday when the World Health Organization considered Omicron a variant of concern after it was first detected in South Africa. Travel to the US is limited for die come from Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Malawi and South Africa.
What we know over  the Omicron variant

Omicron has raised concerns for health officials because there is a possibility it could be more contagious than the original coronavirus strain, and the also has a significant number of mutations, the WHO said.

So far there is no indication that the variant has made to be way to the US, Fauci told CNN on Friday.

The CDC said the US variant surveillance system has reliably detected new variants in the past.

“We expect Omicron to be identified quickly, if it arises in the United States,” the agency said in a statement.

After a pandemic die took nearly two years, experts and global leaders are concerned over the impact of Omicron and many countries spent trip bans. In addition to South Africa, the newly identified variant has been detected in Botswana, Hong Kong and Belgium.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said Friday there was a “high to very high” risk the variant would spread to the mainland.

Vaccine makers are working to determine effectiveness against Omicron

Meanwhile, vaccine makers have announced they are taking action to reduce Omicron’s elevated risk.

Moderna said Friday it works fast to test the ability of its vaccine to neutralize Omicron, and data is expected in the coming weeks.

The strain contains mutations “seen in the Delta variant believed to increase transmissibility and observed mutations in the beta and delta variants believed to boost the immune system escape’ said Moderna in An news Edition.

“The combination of mutations represent significant potential risk to accelerate the decline of natural and vaccine-induced immunity.”

Moderna explained that if it… current vaccine and booster are insufficient against the variant, one possible solution is boosting people with a larger dose, die being tested.

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The company is also evaluating two multivalent booster candidates to see of offer them better protection against Omicron — both of including what of the viral mutations present in the variant.

Moderna said yes also testing an Omicron-specific booster.

“For a few days we have been moving if fast if possible about our . to be carried out strategy to tackle this variant,” said Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna in the news Edition.

Scientists at BioNTech, the German company that collaborated with Pfizer to make its Covid-19 vaccine are also investigating the impact of the variant on their shot, with data expected in the coming weeks.

A Johnson & Johnson spokesperson told CNN in a statement that the company was also test effectiveness of his vaccine against Omicron.

Scientists work on the Covid-19 in the centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Covid-19 travel restrictions not as effective, experts say

Biden’s government decision to travel eight . in to shorten countries is a precaution as the US government learns more over the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

But some experts say travel restrictions aren’t as effective as they seem.

“Trip bans are modestly effective. They can of course influence travelling directly from that country to the United States,” said Schaffner, the physician at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

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“But it is clear that American burgers may come back. They can bring the virus. And people could go off the land of interest, South Africa for example, and go to other countries that are not on the travel ban, and enter, if you like, through the side door. So travel bans are somewhat effective, but let’s not expect miracle,” he said.

U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and non-burgers who are the husbands of burgers of permanent residents are exempt from the new limits.

dr. Megan Ranney, a professor of emergency medicine and Associate Dean of Public health at Brown University, universal vaccination said requirements for all air traveling would be more effective.

“Or have quarantine when people arrive in the US of other countries. Neither of die are particularly politically palatable at the moment, but they would make a much bigger difference in the spread of this variant,” Ranney told CNN’s Jim Acosta on Friday.

CNN’s Jacqueline Howard, Virginia Langmaid, Michael Nedelman, Frederik Pleitgen and Kaitlan Collins contributed to this report.

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