Dec 15, 2021 - Health

EU official: Omicron expected to be dominant variant by mid-January

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a speech during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, 15 December 2021

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, Dec. 15. Photo: Julien Warnand/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Omicron is expected to be the dominant COVID-19 variant in Europe by mid-January, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday.

Driving the news: Early research shows the variant is spreading very quickly, including among vaccinated people, Axios' Caitlin Owens reports.

  • Von der Leyen noted that the rate at which it takes the number of cases to double is around two or three days.

Details: Despite concerns, von der Leyen expressed some optimism, saying that Europe was in a "better position" to fight the virus.

  • She noted that more than 66% of the EU population is fully vaccinated and that 62 million people have received a booster.

What she's saying: “Like many of you, I’m sad that once again this Christmas will be overshadowed by the pandemic,” she said.

  • "The most important thing now is to increase the number of people who are vaccinated in Europe as quickly as possible."

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