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COVID-19 Updates: December 17, 2021

Variant and Vaccine Updates

Why are there different variants of COVID-19?

Like any virus, COVID-19 can and will change over time. As of December 20, 2021, about 97% of analyzed cases are caused by the Delta variant while the remaining 3% are due to the Omicron variant.3

COVID-19 Variants
Depiction of current COVID-19 variants including Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Omicron

While the World Health Organization announced the Omicron variant in November 2021, it is fairly new to the US and is proving to be highly contagious. However, symptoms of Omicron tend to be less severe compared to other variants. The most common symptoms of Omicron are cough, fatigue, congestion, and runny nose.

Scientists are working diligently to evaluate how the Omicron variant fares against the vaccines and treatments that are available. Research does suggest that the vaccines protect against severe illness caused by the known variants.

The CDC recommends that everyone aged 5 years and over gets fully vaccinated in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. Taking all of the available steps to reduce the spread of infection is the best way to slow the emergence of new variants.

What COVID Vaccine is recommended for me*?1

*Click here for additional recommendations for immunocompromised people.

Where can I get a vaccine?

Click here to find where to get vaccinated.

How much will the vaccine cost?
  • The COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots are available at no cost to all recommended age groups in the United States.

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