Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning Americans about the new Omicron coronavirus variant. During an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, emphasized why it’s important for people to get vaccinated and for those who are fully vaccinated to get boosters.
“Even when you have variants like this, and there’s a lot of unknowns about this variant, we know from experience that you get a level of protection with vaccines and particularly now with the extraordinary increase in protections you get with a booster, even when you have variants of concern you do well against them,” he said. “It may not be as good at protecting against the initial infection but it has a very important impact on diminishing the likelihood that you’re going to get a severe outcome from it.”
“So this is a clarion call, as far as I’m concerned, of saying let’s put aside all of these differences that we have and say, ‘if you’re not vaccinated, get vaccinated. If you’re fully vaccinated, get boosted, and get the children vaccinated also.’ We now have time,” he added.
As REVOLT reported, on Friday (Nov. 26), the World Health Organization announced that the new coronavirus strain, which was previously labeled lineage B.1.1.529, will now be called Omicron. WHO also labeled Omicron a “variant of concern” rather than a “variant of interest” due to its amount of mutations, among other reasons.
Fauci reiterated on “Meet the Press” that “the profile of the mutations strongly suggests that it’s going to have an advantage in transmissibility and that it might evade immune protection after a person has been infected and possibly even against some of the vaccine-induced antibodies.”
“It’s not necessarily that that’s going to happen, but it’s a strong indication that we really need to be prepared for that,” he warned. For now, the U.S. is working closely with South African public health officials, who Dr. Fauci said have been completely transparent from the beginning.
In a separate interview on Sunday (Nov. 28), Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institute of Health (NIH), told Fox News Sunday that it will take two or three weeks to determine whether antibodies from vaccines — or previous infections — will be effective against the Omicron variant. “We expect that most likely the current vaccines will be sufficient to provide protection,” Collins said. “And especially the boosters will give that additional layer of protection.
Watch Dr. Fauci’s and Dr. Francis Collins’ full interviews below: