The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention strengthened its COVID-19 booster-shot recommendations, reflecting the threat the new omicron variant poses to the pandemic response in the U.S. and worldwide.

The CDC on Monday recommended that everyone 18 and older get an additional shot after completing a first course of COVID-19 vaccination. The agency said earlier this month that people under 50 could get an additional dose and encouraged vaccination for those 50 and above.

“The recent emergence of the omicron variant (B.1.1.529) further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. She urged unvaccinated people who are eligible for COVID-19 shots to get them.

Omicron, identified last week by scientists in South Africa, has rattled officials in the U.S. and around the world. The World Health Organization warned the variant has a high potential to spread globally and could drive fresh surges in COVID-19 infections. READ MORE

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