The Omicron Variant: What to Know to Stay Safe

Alexander Matthews

The Omicron Variant has caused worldwide concern over the increased chance spread of COVID-19.

The Omicron Variant was first identified by a group of epidemiologists in South Africa and has quickly spread to Europe, Australia, Asia, South America, and now the United States. A travel ban has ensued for countries in Southern Africa to attempt to suppress spreading, however, a travel ban has not been issued for countries in Europe, which has thousands of cases of Omicron already. At the time of writing, 3 cases of the Omicron Variant have been reported in Oregon, two in Washington County and one in Multnomah County. While you should not panic, here a list of steps you should take to possibly prevent the spread and infection of Omicron:

  1. Get a booster shot. Getting a booster is probably the most preventative way of infection because we know that Omicron can very well be caught by people who are fully vaccinated. All Oregon residents 16+ are now eligible for a booster shot if they have been fully vaccinated for at least 6 months, regardless of whether they got Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson(highly recommended for people who got the J&J vaccine, as it is only one shot). You are able to either make an appointment to receive a booster shot or just receive additional information through the federal government’s vaccine site or at Oregon’s vaccine site here. 
  2. Get children vaccinated. Kids aged 5-11 are now eligible to be fully vaccinated nationwide. Protecting children is of the utmost importance, as they can spread the virus and become infected, especially because they attend school in proximity to other students and faculty. Get guidance vaccinating 5-11 year olds here.
  3. Continue to practice COVID protocols such as wearing masks indoors and outside when in close proximity to others, as well as isolating and testing yourself if you feel sick and washing your hands often. 

We don’t know how dangerous the Omicron Variant is yet, so please; be vigilant. Get vaccinated. Wear your mask. Care about the safety of others.