The Omicron Variant

What is the omicron variant?

Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur. The omicron variant is one such variant that arose from a mutation. 

Does the omicron variant spread more easily? 

The Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown. CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.

Does the omicron variant cause severe disease?

More data are needed to know if Omicron infections, and especially reinfections and breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated, cause more severe illness or death than infection with other variants.

Am I protected if I'm vaccinated?

Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur. With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. The recent emergence of Omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.

Dr. Fauci on the Omicron Variant

Information about variants is constantly evolving and information is accurate to the time it was updated.