Dr. Gary Voccio talks about the Omicron variant

November 30, 2021–10:23 a.m.


Over the last few days, we have been hearing about a new COVID-19 variant.

The Omicron variant was first detected on November 9 in Botswana in Africa, according to Dr. Gary Voccio, health director for the 10-county Georgia Department of Public Health Northwest District.

“Then a very astute physician in South Africa figured out that this was something new and different and was something that needed to be looked into,” Dr. Voccio said.  “Sure enough, it was a new variant which has 50 different mutations, and it had now spread around the world.  We have not yet detected any cases in the US or Georgia, but we expect that we will.  People are so easily able to get on a plane and travel the world now, as we first saw with COVID.”

He said that we don’t know a lot about this particular variant at this time.

“We do not know if it’s more transmissible, how sick people will get from it, or whether neutralizing antibodies from the vaccine will be effective,” Dr. Voccio added.  “We do not have that information just yet, but that will be forthcoming.  However, we still recommend people still get vaccinated.”

You can get a vaccination at the health department and local pharmacies, or by speaking with your healthcare provider.

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