DELAND, Fla. - The omicron variant continues to spread around the world.
Japan is the latest country to report a case and the Biden administration continues to urge people to get boosters. The FDA could authorize Pfizer's booster for 16 and 17-year-olds as soon as next week.
While there's no cases in the United States yet, officials say it is only a matter of time. Health officials say this new omicron variant is spreading more quickly than any strain we’ve seen before. It’s already detected in more than a dozen countries after first emerging in Southern Africa last week.
In South Africa the positivity rate went from 2 percent to 9 percent in just six days. Fortunately, most doctors say there’s little risk of hospitalization or death for fully vaccinated people.
"The chances are very high that the vaccine will offer at least some level of protection," said Dr. Mark Siegel, FOX News Medical contributor.
Pfizer reportedly plans to ask the FDA for authorization of COVID boosters for 16 and 17-year-olds. Moderna and Pfizer are already working on vaccines specifically targeting the new strain. Research centers like one in DeLand, Florida are already getting ready for new trials if a new vaccine is developed.
"If it’s for a new variant and they want to test it, we could be ready very quickly," said Dr. Bruce Rankin with Accel Research Sites. "Within weeks. We know our participants are very willing and able to come in and help test that."
Moderna and Pfizer announced they could release a new vaccine to protect against the omicron variant within 100 days. Dr. Rankin says the COVID vaccine will eventually be like the flu shot with updates annually.
Watch FOX 35 News for the latest updates on the omicron variant.