UNT Health Science Center's Dr. Shane Fernando expects the omicron variant of Sars-CoV-2 to have already circulated in some areas.
"It was most likely already in the U.S. for some time," said Fernando, a clinical epidemiologist and assistant professor of pediatrics at the UNT Health Science Center.
With rising numbers of COVID-19 cases predicted this winter, President Joe Biden on Thursday appealed for Americans to get their boosters and get behind his plan to tackle the new omicron variant through wider availability of vaccines and shots, but without new major restrictions on daily life.
Fernando says President Biden's plan to avoid a winter COVID-19 surge could make a big difference in the vaccination rates, as the centerpiece of the plan includes family vaccination sites.
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Currently, about 54% of Texans are fully vaccinated, even though vaccines are readily available.
"It encourages the children to get vaccinated. It will encourage families to get vaccinated at the same time. It will protect them as a whole. It will create a vaccinated bubble," Fernando said.
"If we manage to vaccinate to herd immunity, we should prevent omicron from doing to society what delta did," he said.