NIH Dir. Collins: Omicron Variant a ‘Great Reason to Go and Get Boosted’

National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins said the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 was a “great reason” for people in the United States to get their booster shot.

Collins said, “The booster basically enlarges the capacity of your immune system to recognize all kinds of different spike proteins it’s never seen. This is a great day to go and get boosted or find out how to do so.”

He continued, “Yes, we worry that is the worst case you might have a virus that is so different that the vaccines really don’t enable you to have protection. That is the kind of thing we need to check out as quickly as possible.”

Collins added, “We’ll get some sense of that already from what’s happening in South Africa because about 37% of South Africans are vaccinated. We should be able to find out in the next two or three weeks if the protection that they’re having somewhat better than the unvaccinated people? That data is going to start to emerge, and we’ll be able to work in the laboratory and ask if you took serum from somebody who has been vaccinated, does it actually neutralize that virus in the lab? That will take also another two or three weeks, so stay tuned. We’re going to get better information about this. There’s no reason to panic but a great reason to get boosted.”

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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