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Omicron in RI, Boosters Expanded to 16 And Up

[CREDIT: CDC] The Health Department urges people to get COVID-19 booster shots as soon as they're eligible. The additional shots for vaccinated people are shown to boost your defense against both the Delta variant, and the Omicron variant, which is expected to become the dominant strain in the United States.

[CREDIT: CDC] The Health Department urges people to get COVID-19 booster shots as soon as they're eligible. The additional shots for vaccinated people are shown to boost your defense against both the Delta variant, and the Omicron variant, which is expected to become the dominant strain in the United States.
[CREDIT: CDC] The Health Department urges people to get COVID-19 booster shots as soon as they’re eligible. The additional shots for vaccinated people are shown to boost your defense against both the Delta variant, and the Omicron variant, which is expected to become the dominant strain in the United States.
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PROVIDENCE, RI — The COVID-19 Omicron variant is in RI, spurring reminders about vaccinations, distancing, masks, and vaccine booster doses, now available to  16- and 17-year-olds.

Gov. Dan McKee and the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) encourage 16- and 17-year-olds to get booster doses in Rhode Island, following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, according to the RIDOH. Health experts agree the vaccine boosters protect against the Omicron variant likely to dominate U.S. infections, though at a diminished level {READ MORE ABOUT BOOSTER DOSE EFFECTIVENESS}. The protection part is good news, since the new variant has begun to spread in Rhode Island.

RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories report the state’s first Omicron case was discovered after testing  a person in their 20s who lives in Providence County and recently returned from travel in New York. The individual completed a primary vaccination series and had no record of a booster shot. Contact tracing on the case is ongoing, RIDOH reports.

“To fully protect ourselves and our loved ones against Delta, Omicron and other variants, it’s time to double down and get a boost,” Governor McKee said. “As eligibility continues to expand, we’re making accessibility a priority for Rhode Island’s booster campaign. If you are eligible, get that booster  and encourage friends and family to sign up today.”

Prior to the booster dose expansion, extra doses of the vaccine were only available for people 18 and older. A 16- or 17-year-old who received a Pfizer or Moderna primary series can now get a Pfizer booster six months later. A 16- or 17-year-old who received a Johnson & Johnson vaccination can now get a Pfizer booster dose two months later. (Only Pfizer booster doses are being administered to 16- and 17-year-olds. However, a 16- or 17-year-old can receive a Pfizer booster regardless of the vaccine type they received for their primary series.)

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“We are seeing very high levels of COVID-19 transmission right now in Rhode Island. Booster doses for everyone who is eligible is critical to strengthen protection against Omicron and other variants, and to keeping individuals and communities as safe as possible,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH. “COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and accessible all throughout Rhode Island. I’m urging parents and families to get their 16- and 17-year-olds boosted as soon as possible.”

Rhode Island has been experiencing high levels of COVID-19 community transmission since August and we have seen the transmission rate increase significantly during the last several weeks. With Omicron, people spending more time indoors, and the current high rate of community transmission, hospitalizations in Rhode Island are predicted to increase over the coming weeks and into early 2022.

 For more information on COVID-19 vaccine, including information on where to get vaccinated, see: C19vaccineRI.org.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of WarwickPost.com. Contact him at editor@warwickpost.com with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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