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Health officials urge Oregonians to get vaccinated as new variant spreads

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State Epidemiologist issued a video news release Monday Nov. 29, 2021 about the new variant of the coronavirus.

Health officials say the Omicron variant has not yet been detected in Oregon. They are urging Oregonians to get vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent illness. They also are emphasizing the importance of masking, social distancing and hygiene to stay safe.

Doctor Dean Sidelinger is the state epidemiologist:

“Omicron is reported to be more transmissible than the Delta variant as it’s quickly outcompeted Delta in South Africa, but we do not yet know how much more transmissible it is,” Sidelinger said. “We also don’t know how Omicron affects vaccine effectiveness against severe infection (hospitalization and death). The vaccines have remained highly effective against other variants, and we expect the same to be true with Omicron.”

Sidellinger said we’ll have more information on vaccine effectiveness against Omicron in the coming weeks. The World Health Organization has identified it as a variant of concern. It’s been found in more than a dozen countries.  

Copyright 2021 KLCC.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s former News Director. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000. After reporting for the Northwest News Network and KAZU, Rachael returned to KLCC in 2007 as Morning Edition host and a general assignment reporter covering politics, the environment, education, and the arts. She was hired as KLCC News Director in 2018. Rachael departed KLCC in June, 2022.