Due to the introduction of the Omicron variant, there has been a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases and breakthrough cases. Studies have shown that the booster vaccine dose has become increasingly more valuable as protection against this very contagious disease, as the boosters increase antibodies to fight infection. According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the booster shot amplifies protection against symptomatic COVID-19 to 75 percent, per his statement at a White House briefing on Dec. 15.
Building on the importance of the booster vaccine, the Food and Drug Administration opened the Pfizer version to those 12 to 15 years old, stating that “the protective health benefits of a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to provide continued protection against COVID-19 and the associated serious consequences that can occur including hospitalization and death, outweigh the potential risks.” Additionally, the CDC has shortened the waiting period between the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine and the booster dose from six months to five months, allowing individuals to receive the helpful booster faster.
For those who become infected with COVID-19, the CDC has shortened the required isolation period from 10 days to five days if asymptomatic or are without a fever for 24 hours. After the required allotment of time, the CDC recommends continuing to wear a mask, including inside one’s household, for an additional five days. Different from the CDC recommendations, the Washington Department of Health recommends that those who frequent congregating areas, such as companies, schools, and homeless shelters, who become infected remain in isolation for 10 days and keep to the original guidelines provided by the CDC.