As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, the new Omicron variant is causing a surge in COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and around the world. Omicron is a variant of the original COVID-19 virus. While there is still a lot to uncover about Omicron, we want to provide you with the most up-to-date information.
The bottom line: Omicron is likely to spread more easily than other known variants. Anyone who has an Omicron infection can infect others, even if the infected person is vaccinated or not experiencing symptoms.1 Keep reading for more information on Omicron, vaccines and boosters to help keep you and your family safe during the pandemic.
What are the symptoms of Omicron?
Symptoms of Omicron can be similar to the original COVID-19 virus and other variants, which can include a combination of the following: fever, cough, congestion, runny nose, headache, sore throat, muscle pains/aches and fatigue.
“Fever, cough and headache look to be the most common symptoms from the current data. However, especially if you are vaccinated and boosted, and your immune system has been primed to fight COVID-19, some people may experience minimal to no symptoms when infected with the new Omicron variant,” says Dr. Bridget McCabe, Teladoc VP and Medical Director of Clinical Quality.
“Being vaccinated and boosted allows your immune system to be on alert and ready to attack the COVID-19 virus when it enters your mouth or nose. The vaccine-primed immune system can get the upper hand, thus greatly reducing both symptoms and the likelihood of getting very sick when you come in contact with the COVID-19 virus.”
Am I safe from Omicron if I’m vaccinated?
Not necessarily. Breakthrough infections are possible, meaning you can still get Omicron if you are vaccinated. Fortunately, similar to with the Delta variant, vaccines and boosters will help protect you from severe symptoms, hospitalization and death.1 So, while you may experience more mild symptoms thanks to being vaccinated, Omicron is still highly infectious and still presents a risk to our most vulnerable family and friends.
Masks also offer an additional layer of protection to the person who wears the mask as well as to the people around them. Wearing a well-fitting mask over your nose and mouth reduces the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. While all well-fitting masks offer some level of protection, the CDC now recommends using a well-fitting N95 or KN95 respirator mask to provide the highest level of protection and help reduce the spread of the Omicron variant.2
What if I’m unvaccinated?
“Getting vaccinated is the single most effective preventative action you can take against COVID-19,” says Dr. McCabe. As Omicron spreads, it’s essential to get vaccinated to protect yourself and others. Getting vaccinated now can also prevent new, potentially more-dangerous, variants from emerging later on. Find a COVID-19 vaccine or booster provider near you.
Who can get a COVID-19 booster shot?
The CDC now recommends a booster shot for everyone ages 18 and older if you received either Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. If you received Pfizer, then everyone 12 years and over should get a booster. To get a booster shot, you must have gotten the initial Pfizer or Moderna vaccine series at least five months before. For the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you must have gotten their first shot at least two months before. The CDC allows mix-and-match dosing for booster shots. No matter what vaccine you initially received, you can choose to get any of the three vaccines as an initial booster shot. Learn more on the CDC website.
The CDC also recommends a second booster shot for adults 50 years and over. To get a second booster, you must have gotten an initial booster shot at least four months before. No matter what vaccine or booster you initially received, the second booster shot must be a Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.
What else should I be doing to protect myself and my family?
- Get the COVID-19 vaccine and the booster when you’re eligible
- Get the influenza vaccine now
- Wear a well-fitting mask in indoor public areas
- Get tested for COVID-19 and/or flu if you’re experiencing symptoms
- Wash your hands regularly
- Reduce your possible exposure as much as possible by avoiding large crowds and practicing social distancing
- Support your immunity by eating well, moving your body and getting seven to nine hours of restful sleep each night
Can I use Teladoc for COVID-19?
While our doctors can answer questions about COVID-19 and when to seek in-person care, they cannot order or provide COVID-19 tests or prescribe the newly FDA-approved oral medications.
Teladoc doctors can:
- Answer questions about COVID-19 and when to seek in-person care
- Discuss eligibility for the use of certain treatments
- Explain guidelines for testing, isolation and quarantine
- Advise how to stay safe if you are seeking to travel and gather as cases surge
Call your local doctor’s office to request an in-person visit if you are experiencing shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. These are more severe symptoms that require an in-person evaluation.
If you are worried you might have COVID-19, consider taking our self-assessment to evaluate your risk and receive recommended next steps.
If you have general questions about COVID-19, explore our frequently asked questions.
Updated April 21, 2022