Omicron Variant, All US Residents Age 18 And Over Should Receive A Booster Dose
Illustration of a COVID-19 vaccination in the United States. (Wikimedia Commons/US Secretary of Defense)

JAKARTA - The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says everyone aged 18 years and over should get a booster shot six months after a dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two months after a dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Monday's update came after US health regulators last week expanded the eligibility of booster shots of the COVID-19 vaccine to all adults, but stopped short of saying all adults aged 18 to 49 should get additional shots.

Yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, which was first detected in South Africa, carries a very high risk of a spike in infections.

The variant has now been confirmed in Australia, Belgium, Botswana, UK, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, France, South Africa, and Canada.

"The recent emergence of the Omicron variant further emphasizes the importance of the vaccination, booster, and preventive measures needed to protect against COVID-19," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

Scientists in the United States and around the world are currently examining the effectiveness of vaccines associated with this variant, the CDC said.

The agency also said the 47 million unvaccinated adults were encouraged to be vaccinated as soon as possible, adding that children and adolescents should also be vaccinated to lower the chance of serious illness.

The comments echo those of US President Joe Biden, who urged Americans to be vaccinated, use boosters, and wear masks.

President Biden said he believed existing vaccines would continue to protect against severe disease, but added his government was working with vaccine makers to develop contingency plans if new vaccines were needed.

The CDC said increased testing in the country would help identify variants quickly.

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