DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — The omicron variant has sparked global concern as cases begin to be recorded across the world. Cases have yet to be recorded in the United States but some health leaders say their attention is turning to protecting the most vulnerable.

Dayton Children’s Hospital says children should be the top priority right now. They haven’t been eligible for COVID-19 vaccines very long so many may be left unprotected with a new variant being discovered.

“Younger children who have not had the opportunity to be vaccinated are at a significantly increased risk,” said Chief of Infectious Disease at Dayton Children’s Hospital Dr. Michael Klatte.

Children 5 to 11 years old just became eligible for a pediatric COVID-19 vaccine weeks ago, cutting them short on time to be protected against the omicron variant.

“Given that kids remain most vulnerable because they’ve not had opportunities that adults have had to get vaccinated, we’re still on guard,” said Dr. Klatte.

However, some residents say the news of a new variant isn’t alarming for them or their families.

“My thoughts about the new variant are that it just seems like we’re all over the place yet again with the information we’re being fed,” said Greene County resident Megan Randall. “I understand that it’s new but if the symptoms are mild, then I’m not concerned.”

Some health leaders are calling for more eligible adults to get their boosters to protect children and some parents agree.

“Christmas is right around the corner and we were already talking about whether we should postpone celebrations,” said Randall. “We’re going to continue on, not going to do anything crazy but we’re going to have our holidays and live our lives. Most people have their boosters so I just don’t see how it would affect us so much.”

For those concerned about this new variant and want a booster dose, boosters are available for everyone 18 and older. Either two months after your J&J vaccine series and 6 months after Pfizer or Moderna’s second dose.