The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is once again encouraging Alabamians to receive their COVID-19 boosters as a new subvariant begins to rear its head.

In a release, ADPH claimed a new Omicron subvariant, XBB.1.5, overtakes other Omicron subvariants that were dominant in the fall.

Some experts have claimed that XBB 1.5 is the most transmissible form of Omicron to date.

According to ADPH, the new strain accounts for about 40% of cases in the United States and is now the main subvariant in the Northeastern states, where it accounts for an estimated 75% of cases in the Northeast.

"At this point, XBB.1.5 is not known to be more severe than other variants, and vaccination can help prevent serious illness and hospitalization," ADPH said in a press release. "A decrease in transmission of the virus means fewer opportunities for it to mutate, which can help prevent other contagious variants from emerging."

The ADPH encouraged further vaccination and boosters as a method for protecting against Omicron variants that continue to mutate.

"Only about one-third of Americans ages 65 and older are up to date with COVID-19 vaccine and boosters," the statement continued. "The best protection for children and adults ages 6 months and older is to be vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine and booster."

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