Concerns over omicron driving new push for vaccine boosters


TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Doctors are dealing with a fourth wave of the Delta variant and increasing concerns about the new omicron strain.

At least two cases of the new variant were reported in Florida, one at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital in Tampa.

“No knee jerk reaction but definitely keeping an eye on it,” said Tampa resident Kevin Kuhl, who recently had his third dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Health leaders say vaccine booster shots are the best defense against omicron. Pfizer’s CEO Dr. Albert Bourla announced Wednesday that their shot is effective against omicron.

“Three doses against Omicron are almost equivalent to the two doses effectiveness that we had against the original variant—that is very good news,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say eager, but I was excited about the news. I was gonna come anyway, but definitely really excited that it is more effective,” Kuhl said.

Dr. Jason Salemi, an epidemiologist with USF Health says Pfizer’s latest findings look promising, but there’s still more to learn about the new variant.

“We need to see how this plays out in both people who have no immunization from vaccines, no previous protection from prior infection versus people who have gotten their full compliment of their initial series, as well as booster shots,” Dr. Salemi said.

Pfizer booster shots are available at the West Tampa Community Resource Center daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments aren’t required, but if you’d like one you can sign up at To find a local clinic or pharmacy offering booster shots, visit

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