Much has happened since the last Data Dive, so in this COVID-19 ‘super-update,’ let’s do a progress check on some of the most recent and important developments in the world of variants, vaccines and boosters.

Earlier this week, healthcare reporter Will Stribling reported that the Mississippi Department of Health reported the state’s first case of the omicron variant on Monday, Dec. 6. Omicron is the second most notable variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 after delta, though much still remains to be known about it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC also confirmed omicron likely spreads more easily than the original strain of the virus and continues to urge the tried and true practices against transmission – vaccinations, social distancing, and mask-wearing.

To date, 23 states have one or more cases of omicron, including Mississippi. The other states include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

View the downloadable and sharable map below:

As the virus continues to spread, more children ages five to 11 are getting vaccinated against the virus, with more than 15,000 having at least one dose so far and almost 6,000 being fully vaccinated.

View the data:

Finally, after boosters being restricted to only certain at-risk groups, the CDC now says anyone 16 or older is eligible for a booster shot of a COVID-19 vaccine. However, note that only Pfizer's booster is currently approved for 16 and 17-year-olds. Adults may choose whichever booster is available regardless of their original vaccine.

View the most recent progress on booster administration by age group:


First case of COVID-19 omicron variant identified in Mississippi

How to get a COVID-19 booster shot

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Nigel Dent, a native of Natchez, is Mississippi Today’s audience journalist. He works as a member of the audience team to engage with readers, create audience-centered resources and distribute Mississippi Today’s news across various digital platforms, including social media and newsletter products.