Gov. Newsom speaks out in wake of omicron variant announcement in the U.S.


MERCED COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – Governor Gavin Newsom made a stop in Merced County on Wednesday making his first comments since the omicron variant of COVID-19 was announced in California.

In the wake of the first U.S. omicron case being identified in California, the governor stressed the importance of getting vaccinated even more strongly and the importance of a booster shot for those who are eligible.

“Millions of Californians still have not received their shot, so we’re here to highlight the importance, particularly as we enter the holiday season,” said Gov. Newsom.

Over 92% of all Californians over the age of 18 have received at least one dose of the vaccine and close to six million booster shots have been administered.

The governor applauded the state’s work to get people vaccinated but says more needs to be done.

“Let’s double down on our vigilance, the seriousness of purpose, to work through this winter and the likelihood of experiencing a surge,” said Newsom.

With the first confirmed case of the omicron variant now in the U.S., health officials say there’s no time to let our guard down.

“Get vaccinated, get boosted, if you’re eligible now, don’t wait,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.

The governor adds that it’s still too early to determine how much of an impact the Thanksgiving holiday had on COVID-19 cases.

With one of the first school-based clinics in Merced County offering vaccine shots to kids, Gov. Newsom touted the importance of getting kids vaccinated.

“These vaccines are not only safe and effective, but they can save the lives of young people.”

He adds that it was only a matter of time for the omicron variant to make its way to the U.S.

“We are not surprised by this, it was predictable, this was predicted.”

The governor said that there’s no indication of a shutdown because of the new variant.

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