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Oregon officials watching for Omicron, urge vaccinations, boosters ‘soon as possible’

Dr. Dean Sidelinger. state health officer and epidemiologist.(YouTube video)

The Oregon Health Authority said Monday that the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, is likely to reach the United States and that Oregonians should be vaccinated to protect themselves.

In a news release, Dr. Dean Sidelinger, the state epidemiologist, said the state shares public worries about the variant, which was first identified in Botswana in southern Africa. It has quickly spread to a number of countries around the world, including Australia, Israel and Britain, prompting travel bans.

But scientists said it’s unlikely that such bans will halt its spread. The variant has a number of mutations that make it highly transmissible. It’s unclear whether it causes more severe disease.

It has not yet been identified in the U.S., but Sidelinger said it . . .