RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Wake County spokesperson said they have seen a recent increase in people signing up for COVID-19 vaccines, including boosters; it comes as concerns over a new variant strain linger and statewide metrics worsen.
The Omicron variant, which was first identified in South Africa, has now been confirmed in more than a dozen countries, ranging from Canada to Australia. While no cases have been confirmed in the US, health officials believe the variant is likely already here.
"I heard about it, and I think it's really bad. I'm scared because it's really too many people have died (from COVID), and in my family too. Some people in my family have died," explained Salvardor Gonzalez Martinez, who said the presence of variant was one of the reasons why he got his booster shot.
"I can't say that's why I came out. I would have come out anyway. But I think even what they don't know about it, we know we do better when we have these boosters. So I'm hoping it will be helpful for the Omicron as well," added Sue Falge, a retired nurse.
Researchers are continuing to look into whether Omicron is more transmissible or causes a severe reaction, and what level of protection available vaccines provide against it.
"My wife played a role in me getting the booster shot," said Adrain Poole. "Because she said 'you better get that shot!' But (Omicron didn't play a role) then once I heard about it, it gave me more incentive to go ahead and get the booster shot."
Statewide, there were 1,755 new cases reported Tuesday, a 36% increase since last week. The case positivity rate was 9.4%, the highest mark since late-September, with hospitalizations increasing for the fourth straight day.
"We've never seen death like this. So, the booster shot, and the shots are needed. It saves lives," said Poole.
It takes two weeks after a person receives their booster shot to gain full protection.