Frequently Asked Questions about Omicron

What we know about the Omicron variant continues to evolve, but preliminary data do not suggest that the Omicron variant is causing more severe illness in children. However, the Omicron variant is spreading rapidly, leading to record-breaking case counts, including pediatric cases. As the total number of children with COVID-19 increases, hospitalizations are also rising, even if the proportion of hospitalizations remains small. Lower vaccination and booster rates among children compared to adults may also be a factor contributing to increased cases and hospitalizations in children. 

The best way to protect children from the virus is to follow the leading COVID-19 prevention strategies. Children age 5 and older should get vaccinated, and adolescents age 12 and older are now eligible to get boosted at least 5 months after their second shot for optimal protection against the virus. Parents and adults can help protect their children by getting all eligible family members vaccinated and boosted if eligible—which will also help protect children under 5 who are currently ineligible to be vaccinated. Children over 2 should also wear a well-fitting mask in indoor public settings or crowded environments, wash their hands, stay home if they are feeling sick, and get tested if they were exposed to the virus or are symptomatic.

Added January 6, 2022

Scientists have been studying this question since the variant was first identified. While experts continue to learn more about the Omicron variant, data show that the vaccines continue to be highly effective in reducing risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death. The latest data show that booster doses significantly increase protection from the Omicron variant. Based on this data, the CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get vaccinated, and everyone age 12 and older get boosted when eligible. 

Updated January 6, 2022

Data suggest that the Omicron variant is more contagious than other variants, including the fast-spreading Delta variant. Studies suggest the variant may be less likely to cause severe disease, but Omicron infection continues to lead to hospitalization and deaths, particularly in unvaccinated people and people at risk of severe COVID-19. Any coronavirus infection can be life-threatening, and the best way to prevent the spread of this or any other variant is to get vaccinated, get a booster if you are eligible, and to wear a mask in indoor public settings or in crowded environments. 

Added November 29, 2021

Messaging Resources about Omicron

Misinformation Alerts about Omicron

Viral post falsely claims more vaccinated than unvaccinated people get COVID-19

A social media post with nearly 49,000 engagements falsely claims that people vaccinated against COVID-19 continue to get sick while unvaccinated people are “healthy and thriving.” While it’s true that the Omicron variant infected fully vaccinated people more than previous variants, unvaccinated people are still more susceptible to Omicron infections. Additionally, fully vaccinated people are

Read More

Study used to falsely claim vaccines are unnecessary for young children

A new study that is still in peer review found that the low-dose Pfizer vaccine for children 5 to 11 offered little protection against Omicron infection and decreased protection against serious illness. The study has been covered by multiple major news sites and has been shared on social media with messages discouraging parents from vaccinating

Read More