Health commissioner urges vaccinations as COVID numbers continue to rise

Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 7:00 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WDBJ) - Virginia has seen very few cases of the Omicron variant so far, but as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise, it could become the dominant strain.

And that, health officials say, is another reason to get vaccinated.

Virginia’s State Health Commissioner Dr. Norm Oliver says holiday gatherings will likely fuel a continuing increase in COVID cases.

“In general we think we will continue to see a rise in cases over the winter months,” Oliver told WDBJ7 Friday morning.

Right now, the Omicron variant is very rare in Virginia, but that could change because it appears to spread more easily and quickly than the Delta variant.

“Over the next several weeks or months or so, we could expect Omicron to start spreading more in the U.S. and could very well reach the point that it is the dominant variant of the virus,” Oliver said.

What’s different between this holiday season and last year’s post-holiday surge is the widespread availability of effective vaccines. Oliver’s bottom line message is simple.

“The most important message there is getting vaccinated is going to protect you from getting COVID-19,” he said. “And that’s true whether it’s the Delta variant or the Omicron variant.”

Oliver encourages Virginians who haven’t been vaccinated to use the health department’s website and toll free phone line, or make an appointment through a local pharmacy.

Getting vaccinated he said is the best way to prepare for the holidays and beyond.

To find more information on vaccination opportunities, click on the following link:

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