CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — On Monday, local health authorities sent out a text encouraging residents to get their COVID-19 booster shots in response to the new Omicron COVID-19 variant.
“We are at more risk if any other variants come up,” Dr. Srikanth Ramanchandruni, the local health authority, said. “And this is what we’ve been worried about all along.”
Ramanchandruni said the Coastal Bend is more vulnerable to the Omicron variant of COVID-19 than most of the population because of the high rates of diabetes.
Doctors say not much is known abut the new variant, including if the symptoms are more severe than Delta's, and if the current vaccines are as effective when faced with Omicron.
“We need to come to the realization that you’re not going to be able to avoid COVID,” said Chris Bird, former head of the Nueces County COVID-19 Task Force.
Bird said vaccinated people will be less likely to suffer severe symptoms from COVID-19. Additionally, he said too much is unknown about Omicron to take the risk of not being vaccinated.
“So, what we are looking at is unvaccinated people will have a very high risk, and vaccinated people we need to look at in terms how much the vaccine is going to be effective,” Ramanchandruni said.
Ramanchandruni is asking residents to get their children vaccinated before the next holiday.
“We need to have all of the kids vaccinated as early as possible because this Omicron variant seems to have more effect on the kids also,” Ramanchandruni said.
Health experts said Omicron has 32 mutations; more mutations than the previous variants combined which likely makes it more transmissible.
“We’ll know the answers in the next two weeks,” Ramanchandruni said. “How people are doing in terms of vaccinated or unvaccinated.”