Questions About Omicron Abound: What’s a Parent to Do? - Nemours Blog


Questions About Omicron Abound: What’s a Parent to Do?

Questions About Omicron Abound: What’s a Parent to Do?

The media is full of news about omicron, a new coronavirus variant. A variant is a version of the virus that is a little different from the original virus. Variants can look different or behave differently from the original virus. For example, they can differ in how contagious they are, how sick they make people, and how they respond to vaccines and medicines.

We are still learning about how the omicron variant differs from the coronavirus that we are already familiar with. While we wait for health experts to study the data about omicron, some parents are wondering whether they should vaccinate their child as soon as possible, or whether they should wait and see how things develop with this new variant.

What Do We Know?

The answer is that all children ages 5 and older should get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible. Here is why we shouldn’t wait:

  • The vaccine has been proven to prevent serious illness, hospitalization, and death due to COVID-19. Even if it doesn’t work as well for a new variant (which has not yet been determined for omicron), some protection is always better than no protection.
  • COVID-19 cases are again on the rise in many places.
  • Cold weather and holidays will likely result in people spending more time together indoors, which can lead to even more spread of the virus.
  • COVID-19 can make children very sick. Infected children can also spread the virus to other people at home and at school.

Get Vaccinated and Stay the Course

For these same reasons, all adults should get vaccinated as well. Everyone ages 18 and older should also get a COVID-19 booster shot.

And just to be on the safe side, until we know more about omicron, we should continue to do the things that we know can protect us from all viruses, including any coronavirus variants that may show up:

And as always, check Nemours KidsHealth, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) websites for up-to-date information as we are learning new things about COVID-19 all the time.

Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD, MPH

Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD, MPH is a general pediatrician and a medical editor at Nemours KidsHealth.