Nov. 29, 2021 — President Joe Biden stated Monday that obtainable 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 collect extra data on its efficiency earlier than the primary circumstances are detected within the United States.
He was accompanied by prime infectious illness knowledgeable 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 rising vaccination charges.
“This variant is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic,” he stated. “We’ll fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed, not chaos and confusion. We have more tools today to fight the variant than we ever have before.”
Scientists will probably be working over the subsequent a number of weeks to study extra in regards to the virus and to find out the extent of safety supplied by obtainable COVID-19 pictures. Omicron was first detected in South Africa, prompting Biden to implement a journey ban, and circumstances have now been reported in a number of European nations in addition to Canada.
Biden praised the South African well being neighborhood for shortly 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 best protection against this new variant, or any of the variants out there, is getting fully vaccinated and getting a booster shot,” he stated.
He continued: “While it’ll be a few weeks before we’ll know everything we need to know about how strong the existing vaccines protect against the variant, Dr. Fauci, who is with me today, and our medical team believe that the vaccines will continue to provide a degree of protection against severe disease.”
He urged individuals to proceed carrying masks indoors in public settings for an additional layer of safety.
In the unlikely occasion that the vaccines should not efficient in opposition to the variant, Biden stated, the White House is working with Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson to “develop contingency plans for boosters if needed.”
“I will also direct the FDA and CDC to use the fastest process available without cutting any corners for safety to get these vaccines approved and on the market, if needed,” he stated.
But he confused that that is unlikely.
“As we continue this effort, let’s remember where we stand,” he stated. “We’re in a very different place as we enter the month of December, compared to where we were last Christmas.”
He famous that just one% of American adults had been vaccinated final December, and this December, that quantity will probably be over 70%.
“If you are vaccinated but still worried about the new variant, get your booster,” he stated. “If you aren’t vaccinated, go get that first shot.”