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We have the Tools to Fight Omicron


Getting vaccinated and staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccines is the best way to protect yourself and others against the Omicron variant.

  • CDC recommends that everyone 5 years and older protect themselves from COVID-19 by getting vaccinated. Everyone ages 12 years and older should stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines and get a booster shot when eligible.

Find a COVID-19 vaccine or booster: Search, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find locations near you.


Well-fitting masks offer protection against all variants.

  • Wear a mask with the best fit, protection, and comfort for you.

  • If you are not up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines and are aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask indoors in public.

  • In general, people do not need to wear masks when outdoors. In areas of substantial or high transmission, people might choose to wear a mask outdoors when in sustained close contact with other people, particularly if

    • They or someone they live with has a weakened immune system or is at increased risk for severe disease.

    • They are not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines or live with someone who is not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines.


Tests can tell you if you have COVID-19. Learn how to get tested.

  • Two types of tests are used to test for current infection: nucleic acid amplification tests (NAATs) and antigen tests. NAAT and antigen tests can tell you if you have a current infection.

  • Self-tests can be used at home or anywhere, are easy to use, and produce rapid results.

    • If your self-test has a positive result, isolate and talk to your healthcare provider.

    • If you have any questions about your self-test result, call your healthcare provider or public health department.

Individuals can use the COVID-19 Viral Testing Tool to help determine what kind of test to seek. Your test result will only tell you if you do or do not have COVID-19. It will not tell you which variant caused your infection. Visit your state, tribal, local, or territorial health department’s website for the latest local information on testing.

It is important to use all tools available to protect yourself and others. What CDC is Doing to Learn about Omicron

What CDC is Doing to Learn about Omicron

Virus Characteristics

CDC scientists are working with partners to gather data and virus samples that can be studied to answer important questions about the Omicron variant. Scientific experiments are ongoing. CDC will provide updates as new information becomes available.

Variant Surveillance

In the United States, CDC uses genomic surveillance to track COVID-19 variants, to more quickly identify and act upon these findings to best protect the public’s health. CDC established multiple ways to connect and share genomic sequence data being produced by CDC, public health laboratories, and commercial diagnostic laboratories within publicly accessible databases maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Informationexternal icon (NCBI) and the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Dataexternal icon (GISAID). Findings from CDC’s variant surveillance are updated on CDC’s COVID Data Tracker.

Emergence of Omicron

CDC has been using genomic surveillance throughout the course of the pandemic to track COVID-19 variants, and inform public health practice.

  • November 24, 2021: A new variant of COVID-19, B.1.1.529, was reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). This new variant was first detected in specimens collected on November 11, 2021 in Botswana and on November 14, 2021 in South Africa.

  • November 26, 2021: WHO named the B.1.1.529 Omicron and classified it as a Variant of Concern (VOC).

  • November 30, 2021: The United States designated Omicron as a Variant of Concern.

  • December 1, 2021: The first confirmed U.S. case of Omicron was identified.

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