Emergence of Omicron variant serves as reminder to get COVID-19 vaccination

As news of a new COVID-19 variant has been announced, the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) urges all eligible people to become fully vaccinated, get booster shots, and follow preventive measures including wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands frequently.
Dr. Wes Stubblefield, ADPH medical officer, Northern and Northeastern districts, reminds the public about the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines and said, “The best way to protect yourself, your children, and your loved ones is to get vaccinated. The vaccines are safe and effective and provide a robust protection against the original virus and the variants currently in circulation in Alabama.”
On November 26 the World Health Organization (WHO) classified a new variant, B.1.1.529, as a variant of concern and has named it Omicron. No cases of this variant have been identified in the U.S. or Alabama to date.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is following the details of this new variant, first reported to the WHO by South Africa, and is working with other U.S. and global public health and industry partners to learn more about this variant and is continuing to monitor its path. CDC continuously monitors variants and the U.S. variant surveillance system has reliably detected new variants in this country. Travelers to the U.S. should continue to follow CDC recommendations.
The best way to protect everyone is to be vaccinated, including those people who have been infected previously with COVID-19. Most hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 in Alabama are among unvaccinated people.
All county health departments offer COVID-19 vaccine, but some locations do not have all three brands of vaccine available. County health departments offer age-eligible vaccine products at no charge to children and adults ages 5 and older.
For children and adolescents 5 through 17 years of age, please check or contact the vaccine provider to see if the Pfizer vaccine is offered before scheduling an appointment.
Adults who received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for a booster shot two months after being vaccinated. For adults who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, boosters are available six months after completion of the primary series.
Please contact your county health department for availability. [The Escambia County Health Department on this end of the county is located at 8600 Highway 31 North, Suite 17, Atmore. The phone number is 368-9188.]
County health departments throughout Alabama provide a wide range of confidential and professional services. Contact your local county health department for additional information.
Mission: To promote, protect, and improve Alabama’s health.
Vision: Healthy People. Healthy Communities. Healthy Alabama.