Health officials urge vaccinations, boosters due to COVID-19 omicron variant

Action News found people determined to buckle down and get their booster shot after hearing about the COVID-19 omicron variant.

Trish Hartman Image
Monday, November 29, 2021
EMBED <>More Videos

Action News found people determined to buckle down and get their booster shot after hearing about the COVID-19 omicron variant.

TRENTON, New Jersey (WPVI) -- It could be at least two weeks before we have more information about the newest COVID-19 variant, omicron.

Some are playing it safe and taking more precautions.

"I'm going to be definitely getting my booster which I haven't gotten after my first two shots," said Bob Arcaini of Mt. Ephraim, N.J.

Action News found people determined to buckle down and get their booster shot after hearing about it, coming off a holiday weekend that many spent with family and friends.

"The big test I think will be over the next couple of weeks to see if we're going to see the anticipated spike coming out of the Thanksgiving holiday," said Gov. Phil Murphy during Monday's COVID-19 briefing in Trenton.

A growing number of countries are discovering cases of the new variant, including Canada.

RELATED: All vaccinated adults should get COVID-19 booster shot because of omicron variant, CDC says

The U.S. has banned travelers from South Africa and several other African countries in an attempt to curb the spread.

New Jersey officials urged people to get vaccinated, as we wait to learn more about the variant.

"Given the unique signature generated by the variant, PCR tests are able to identify the omicron variant," said Judith Persichilli, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health.

Philadelphia health officials suggested people avoid prime shopping times when going into crowded indoor public spaces, and suggested double masking for more protection.

Meanwhile, researchers are anxious to get their hands on a sample of the new variant.

"There's no reason to suspect that it's going to cause more severe disease, but perhaps spread more readily," said Dr. Susan Weiss, professor of microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Weiss has been researching COVID-19 variants at the University of Pennsylvania, and studying how the variants act and change.

RELATED: US health officials work to answer 3 key questions about the new omicron variant

"Once we have the virus we can then try to compare it to the standard virus and alpha, beta, gamma, delta, as well as how it enters cells, how it replicates, how it spreads. That kind of stuff," said Dr. Weiss.

She says there's one sure way to prevent more variants from happening.

"The way to make it stop making variants is to get vaccinated. Is to make it stop replicating. If the virus can't replicate it's not going to spawn off variants."

The state of New Jersey state gave more details today on some new vaccine hubs opening soon.

Virtua Health will be opening a new vaccination hub in the former A.C. Moore location in Mount Laurel.

A soft opening will be held this week by appointment only, with more info to come on an official opening date.