Things you need to know about the new COVID variant
What is it?
It is the latest variant of concern of the COVID-19 virus to be identified. Early research shows it is highly contagious meaning it spreads very easily.
Will existing vaccines work against Omicron?
Yes, the vaccines being given in Canada are very effective in preventing severe disease, including for this variant, particularly when people have received their booster shot. Booster shots strengthen the immune response to Omicron and are now available for anyone 18 years of age and children with diabetes.
Who is most at risk from Omicron?
Anyone who is not fully vaccinated is most at risk and those living with them are also at increased risk because this variant is very contagious. COVID-19 can be very serious for the elderly and people with chronic health conditions.
How can I protect myself and my family against Omicron?
- Get everyone in your household fully vaccinated. Vaccines are now available for everyone five years of age and older. Booster shots are now available for anyone 18 years of age and children with diabetes.
- Limit the size of holiday gatherings and only include those who are vaccinated. If possible, meet outdoors. The risk of transmission of the virus is much lower when gathering outside.
- Limit travel outside your community.
- If you have any symptoms of COVID, get tested. List of COVID symptom here.
- If you are sick, do not host a gathering and do not attend a gathering. Stay home if you are ill.
- Wear a well-fitting mask whenever you are with people from outside your household and keep a safe distance away – 2m or 6 feet. If you are high risk for being ill from COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, wearing a medical mask or N95 respirator is recommended.
- Wash your hands or use an alcohol-based sanitizer often.