EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Immunize El Paso says the new XBB.1.5 omicron subvariant is proving to be more contagious but there is no indication this variant causes more severe illness than any other omicron variant.

XBB.1.5 now accounts for 40% of confirmed U.S. covid cases. According to the CDC, XBB.1.5 is more contagious than prior omicron variants. In December, the U.S. Covid-19 cases of XBB.1.5 were at 1%.

“The good news is the bivalent booster does offer protection against the XBB.1.5 and can prevent infection and hospitalization. In El Paso, because we are a major hub for international travel many of the variants like omicron have traveled south to our region. While XBB.1.5 is isolated to the northeast part of the U.S. right now that doesn’t mean it won’t affect us here.”

Daniel Acosta, Immunize El Paso Director

According to Immunize El Paso, the new variant does not cause more serious disease, but it is five times more contagious than the Omicron variant. The most recent Covid-19 vaccine, the Bivalent Booster, is proving to be effective against XBB.1.5. unlike the antibodies people developed from prior Covid-19 infections.

To set up an appointment at Immunize El Paso, click here.

For local and breaking news, sports, weather alerts, video and more, download the FREE KTSM 9 News App from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store