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The CDC upped its urgency over coronavirus vaccine boosters Monday, saying every US adult should now get the extra shot because of the Omicron variant.
The federal agency previously said that while every adult was eligible for a booster, only those age 50 and older and those 18 and above in long-term care should really make a point of getting it.
But given heightened concerns over Omicron, the CDC now says that everyone over 18 “should” get the boosters.
“Today, CDC is strengthening its recommendation on booster doses for individuals who are 18 years and older,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
“The recent emergence of the Omicron variant further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19,” she said.
The agency said adults should seek booster shots six months after their second dose of the Moderna and Pfizer jabs or two months after the Johnson & Johnson shot.
Walensky noted that early data from South Africa suggests that the new strain is highly transmissible and that scientists are still gauging the effectiveness of existing vaccines in combating the new variant.
She encouraged anyone who feels sick to get tested for the coronavirus and said that increased screening will help officials identify Omicron’s potential presence in the US.
The CDC reiterated its call for continued mask use and general vaccination in the fight against COVID-19.