Island Senior: Healthy Holidays and the COVID-19 Variant Omicron
“Island Senior” is a regular column on the San Juan Update written by Peggy Sue McRae…
Celebrating Thanksgiving with friends, all of us double vaxed and boostered, we enjoyed a relaxing evening without wearing masks. In spite of winter spikes in local numbers of COVID cases it was beginning to look like we might be approaching the end of this oh so wearisome pandemic. Then BOOM along comes omicron, a new COVID variant.
Suddenly in airports around the world flights were cancelled and some borders were closed. By the time you read this we will know more about this new twist in the pandemic forecast. Briefly, according to Dr. Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the President, the new omicron variant first appeared in Botswana and South Africa in mid-November.
What raised concern about the omicron variant was its rapid spread in South Africa. And the list of countries where the variant has been detected is steadily increasing. While as of Tuesday this list does not include the United States, it has been found in Canada and is very likely already in the United States.
Even if this new variant compromises the effectiveness of our vaccines, the vaccines remain our greatest protection and strengthen our immunity so that even if we do get COVID it will be less severe and less likely to kill us. Dr. Fauci’s advice for confronting omicron will sound familiar:
- get vaccinated
- get boosted
- use masks
- avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces – choose outdoors rather than indoors when possible
- keep your distance
- wash your hands often
- and when appropriate test and isolate
The good news is vaccines, and boosters, are readily available. If you were fully vaccinated by June you can get a booster shot now. There will be more COVID-19 vaccination clinics on the island in December (check link below).
For your own peace of mind, for your family and loved ones, for your community and those more fragile than yourself, please get vaccinated. If you already have, thank you. Have a beautiful, safe, and healthy holiday season.
San Juan County Health & Community Services – COVID Vaccine Info and local clinics