RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — President Joe Biden said Omicron, the newest covid variant, “is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic,” at a press conference on Monday.

While there are still a lot of unknowns with the new variant, doctors seem to agree the current COVID vaccines and boosters will offer some protection against the Omicron variant. That had the President, once again, urging Americans to get vaccinated, get their booster shots now.

“A fully vaccinated booster person is the most protected against COVID,” Biden said.

The President added lockdowns are not on the table but he asked Americans to wear masks in public places warning we will see the new variant in the U.S.

“I think it is almost inevitable it will be at some point that strain here in the United States,” he said.

The United States began restricting travel to at least eight African countries Monday as reports of the variant popping up in countries around the world emerged.

“Recognize that we are going to be in some degree of a pandemic for a time to come,” said Doctor Kyle Enfield Acting Chief Medical Officer of Critical Care at the University of Virginia.

Dr. Enfield said this variant seems to have some mutations with the spike protein that may allow it to escape antibodies produced by the immune system.

“We don’t think that Omicron will take vaccines back to square one or the absence of vaccines,” he said. “But it may like delta lead to some more breakthrough infections.”

Still, doctors believe the vaccines out there will help the body recognize this COVID spike protein.

“If you knew a friend for a really long time and they go get a really drastic haircut, you still recognize your friend but that are different looking than they did before,” Enfield said.

The doctor said it’s still unknown how contagious the variant is or the severity of symptoms, and there have only been a handful of documented cases so far. Enfield said we do know what’s worked in the past for preventing the spread of COVID-19.

“Using masks, trying to limit your exposure to crowded spaces and good hand hygiene,” he said

In the meantime, the Centers for Disease Control is strengthening its recommendation on booster doses for individuals who are 18 years and older. The CDC announced said adults should get their booster shot 6 months after their initial Pfizer or Moderna series or 2 months after their initial J&J vaccine.

President Biden said if updated vaccinations or boosters are needed to fight this variant his administration will accelerate development and deployment.

Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna have all said they are working to target the Omicron variant.