Omicron Variant now confirmed in Kentucky

Key facts about the omicron variant:


It is much more transmissible than other variants.

It appears to take a much smaller amount of omicron to produce spread.

So far, omicron appears to cause mostly mild disease. South Africa and the United Kingdom, where there already is significant spread, have not reported severe rises in hospitalizations. However, it is too soon to tell how Kentucky will fare.

Recent data suggests monoclonal antibody treatments may not be as effective a treatment against the omicron variant.

The Governor noted that vaccinations and boosters are still the best lines of defense.


Key points on vaccines:


Three doses of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) appear to provide very good protection against severe COVID disease and death.

Mild breakthrough cases appear more common with the omicron variant than delta variant.

Currently, 62% of Kentuckians are fully vaccinated. Every eligible person 5 and older should get vaccinated as soon as possible. Those who have recovered from COVID also should be vaccinated.

Everyone 16 and older who is at least six months past receiving their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine should get a booster dose as soon as possible.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said the mRNA vaccines are preferred over the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Those who previously had the J&J shot are encouraged to get a Pfizer or Moderna booster dose.