Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

How worried should we be about omicron? Do we need a COVID booster and flu shots?


On WGCU's Gulf Coast Live, two health experts discuss what’s known about the variant and offer ino about how COVID vaccinations and booster shots work.

Since being reported in South Africa this month, theomicron variant of the coronavirus has been identified in at least 20 states, including Florida. Omicron cases have been reported in at least 58 countries around the world.

While researchers work to determine how transmissible the variant is, how severe cases are and how well existing vaccines protect against it, health systems across the country are preparing for what could be a new COVID wave.

Although it is too early to know with certainty until more data is collected, the South African Medical Research Council recently reported that over the past two weeks, most patients hospitalized with the omicron variant have not required extra oxygen to breathe.

Dr. Stephanie Stovall, a pediatric infectious disease specialist with Lee Health System, and Dr. Marissa Levine, University of South Florida professor of public health, join WGCU's Gulf Coast Live for a discussion of the omicron varant.

We get the basics of what’s known so far, and how new information about variants are disseminated to health care workers and administrators. We also talk about vaccinations and how booster shots work, as well as where the flu vaccine fits into the conversation.

Click on the "Listen" button to start the program.

Copyright 2021 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

Mike Kiniry is producer of Gulf Coast Live, and co-creator and host of the WGCU podcast Three Song Stories: Biography Through Music. He first joined the WGCU team in the summer of 2003 as an intern while studying Communication at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Tara Calligan