(BIVN) – The Omicron variant, the latest COVID-19 “variant of concern” to be identified, has not been yet been detected in Hawaiʻi, but officials say they are prepared.
“While we are moving forward with updated emergency measures, we must remain vigilant,” said Governor David Ige on Monday. “The Omicron variant will likely be detected in the United States. Hawaiʻi has a robust surveillance system. Our State Laboratories Division has the capacity to conduct whole genomic sequencing to detect variants. We have not seen the Omicron variant here in Hawaiʻi as of this morning, but we are closely monitoring the situation and will identify the variant as early as possible should it show up here.”
Today, the Hawaiʻi Department of Health urged all vaccinated adults receive a booster, following new CDC recommendations. From the DOH:
The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) is adopting stronger guidelines from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on COVID-19 booster vaccinations.
Effective immediately, all adults age 18 and older who completed their primary mRNA vaccinations of Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago should receive a single COVID-19 booster dose.
Boosters are still recommended for anyone who received Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine more than two months ago.
“This guidance is clear—all fully vaccinated adults should get a booster when it is available to them,” said Health Director Dr. Elizabeth Char, FACEP. “While the Omicron variant has not yet been detected in Hawaiʻi, the best thing you can to do protect yourself and your family is to get vaccinated, wear a mask, avoid large gatherings and get tested for COVID-19 if you feel sick.”
The recent emergence of the Omicron variant underscores the importance of vaccination and boosters. According to the CDC, strong immunity, such as that provided by a booster, will likely prevent severe illness. Individuals who received a booster should continue practice other mitigation measures, such as wearing a mask, avoiding large gatherings and staying home from work and getting tested for COVID-19 if they feel sick.