DALLAS, January 7, 2022 — As the highly contagious Omicron variant, now representing more than 95% of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., spreads rapidly, the latest data continue to indicate COVID-19 vaccines including boosters are more important than ever. The American Heart Association continues to align with expert guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the nation’s infectious disease experts, regarding COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.

Earlier this week, the CDC recommended everyone ages 12 and older receive a COVID-19 booster. This applies to those who received either of the two-dose mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, produced by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, or anyone who received the single-dose, adenovirus-vector vaccine from Johnson & Johnson (Janssen). Please consult the CDC website  for detailed guidance on which age groups are eligible for which vaccines and boosters, and the recommended timing for each dose. 

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, a global force for longer, healthier lives for all, remains concerned about the continuing gaps in COVID-19 vaccination among people from all eligible age groups in the U.S., including people from diverse racial and ethnic groups and pregnant people, particularly given the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

The following statement reflects the views of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and its science leaders:

  • President Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Sc.M., FAHA,
  • Immediate Past President Mitchell S.V. Elkind, M.D., M.S., FAHA, FAAN,
  • President-Elect Michelle A. Albert, M.D., M.P.H., FAHA,
  • Chief Science and Medical Officer Mariell Jessup, M.D., FAHA, and
  • Chief Medical Officer for Prevention Eduardo Sanchez, M.D, M.P.H., FAHA, FAAFP.

“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing, as we reach a new peak in the U.S. averaging nearly 500,000 cases of COVID-19 infection per day during the past week[1]. Many hospitals around the country are nearing capacity with COVID-19 patients, and health care professionals are stretched thin. While breakthrough cases of COVID-19 infection are rising among people who are vaccinated, the vast majority of people hospitalized with severe COVID-19 infection are unvaccinated or have severely compromised immune systems.   

“We continue to recommend all adults and children ages 5 and older in the U.S. to receive the COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible, and all people ages 12 and older to receive a booster dose as soon as they are eligible, as recommended by the CDC and fully approved or authorized for emergency use by the FDA.

“COVID-19 vaccination and boosters continue to be our #1 defense to save lives and protect against COVID-19 infection, severe illness and death. The benefits of the vaccines and boosters far outweigh the risks of rare, serious adverse effects. The CDC’s safety protocols continue to include mask wearing for all people regardless of vaccination status when indoors, frequent handwashing and social distancing.

“The American Heart Association appeals for everyone ages 5 and older to receive the COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible and everyone ages 12 and older to receive booster doses as soon as they are eligible. The COVID-19 vaccines and boosters provide the best protection against COVID-19, including the Omicron variant, and the best opportunity for ending the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Additional Resources:

The Association receives funding primarily from individuals. Foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific Association programs and events. The Association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and biotech companies, device manufacturers and health insurance providers and the Association’s overall financial information are available here.

About the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives and includes the American Stroke Association. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public's health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1. 


For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173, AHACommunications@heart.org

Michelle Kirkwood: 703-457-7838, michelle.kirkwood@heart.org

Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and stroke.org