TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 variant Omicron. No confirmed cases have been identified in Kansas or the United States to date. This variant is new, and it is still unknown how transmissible or contagious this variant is. It is unclear how quickly it will spread, but it has been found in 17 countries already and we should assume that it is only a matter of time before it will be found in the United States. KDHE will continue to sequence positive COVID-19 samples to look for the Omicron variant.
With over 64% of the eligible population fully vaccinated, Kansas is more prepared for Omicron than previous variants. Experts continue to believe that the COVID-19 vaccine will continue to protect those who are vaccinated against severe disease and death. The COVID-19 vaccine is available for all individuals aged five years and over. The vaccine booster dose is available for all adults aged 18 and over. Boosters increase the strength of your antibody response, so even if the virus mutates, a boost makes it more likely that your antibodies can prevent you from getting sick or seriously ill, even with the new variant. If you are six months past your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two months past your J&J vaccine, get boosted now.
As we continue to learn more about the Omicron variant, taking steps to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus remains the same. Kansans should receive the COVID-19 vaccine or booster shot, wear a mask in public indoor settings, wash their hands frequently, physically distance from others as much as possible, stay home if they feel sick, and get tested if they have been exposed to COVID-19 disease or have symptoms.
Find the nearest vaccination clinic by visiting Vaccines.gov.