BISMARCK, N.D. – On Monday, Nov. 29, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strengthened its recommendation for individuals 18 years and older to receive a COVID-19 booster shot due to the recent emergence of the COVID-19 B.1.1.529 variant known as Omicron.
The World Health Organization (WHO) classified Omicron as a Variant of Concern on Friday, Nov. 26. Early data from South Africa suggest the Omicron variant has an increased transmissibility. Scientists around the world are working urgently to learn more about the variant, including its transmission and vaccine effectiveness against it.
COVID-19 booster shots are recommended six months after an adult completes their initial Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series, or two months after their dose of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine.
“More than 60% of North Dakotan adults have started their COVID-19 vaccine series. I strongly encourage those who have not yet been vaccinated to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” said Dr. Nizar Wehbi, North Dakota State Health Officer. “I also encourage everyone to stay home if they are sick and to seek out COVID-19 testing. Vaccination and testing are important tools for North Dakotans to protect themselves and their communities.”
Everyone is encouraged to be proactive in taking actions to protect against COVID-19. Protective strategies such as vaccination, masking indoors in public spaces, maintaining social distance from others, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, testing to prevent spread to others, washing hands often, covering coughs and sneezes, cleaning and disinfecting and monitoring health daily. Children ages five and up remain eligible to receive their initial Pfizer vaccine series.
Residents of North Dakota are encouraged to speak with their health care provider or local pharmacist if they have questions about vaccines or boosters. For more information on vaccine locations, visit www.health.nd.gov/covid-vaccine-locator.