President Joe Biden met on Friday, November 26, with his Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and members of his White House COVID Response Team, about the Omicron variant, which is spreading through Southern Africa. As a result, he announced air travel restrictions from South Africa and seven other countries. These new restrictions will take effect on November 29, they will continue to be guided by what the science and their medical team advises.
Dr. Fauci and members of the COVID Response Team updated the President on the latest developments related to the Omicron variant. Dr. Fauci informed the President that while it will take approximately two more weeks to have more definitive information on the transmissibility, severity, and other characteristics of the variant, he continues to believe that existing vaccines are likely to provide a degree of protection against severe cases of COVID.
Dr. Fauci also reiterated that boosters for fully vaccinated individuals provide the strongest available protection from COVID. The COVID Response Team’s immediate recommendation to all vaccinated adults is to get a booster shot as soon as possible; all adults are eligible for a booster if they were vaccinated six months ago or more with Pfizer or Moderna, or two months ago or more with Johnson & Johnson. Importantly, those adults and children who are not yet fully vaccinated should get vaccinated immediately.
The President will provide an update about the new variant and the U.S. response on Monday.