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Experts from the University of Virginia Health Center offer advice on boosters this holiday season

UVA Health
UVA Health
Published: Nov. 20, 2021 at 8:22 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - With Thanksgiving right around the corner, experts at UVA Health are offering some advice before you gather around the table with friends and family.

“If you’re high risk, if you’re older, if you have high risk medical conditions, I really strongly encourage those people to get a booster, especially as we head into the holiday season,” UVA Health’s, Dr. Costi Sifri said.

With Thanksgiving just days away, some people are wondering how protected they’ll be if they get a booster shot now.

“That’s a good question,” Sifri said. “I don’t think we quite know that answer. What we do know is that the immunologic response after a dose of vaccine really sort of takes about 10 days to really fully kick in, 10, perhaps 12 days. So, the timeframe is a little bit short right now, for Thanksgiving day, but we’re certainly heading into a longer holiday season.”

If you plan on having other big gatherings after Thanksgiving, Sifri says it would still be smart to get your booster now.

“We are seeing occasionally people who are at that point that they received COVID vaccination a while ago, six months or longer, who are now coming in with breakthrough infections and have symptomatic illness and are being hospitalized,” Sifri said.

Doctors say COVID transmission has been going down in Virginia, but now it’s been kind of steady.

“We have 28 patients today,” Dr. Reid Adams with the UVA Health Center said. “As you may recall, that is down from where we were kind of stuck in the 30s, maybe four or five weeks ago, but we’ve sort of plateaued in the mid to high 20s.”

Some predict rates may go up again during or after the holiday season. This is why you are encouraged to get your booster shot now if it has been at least six months since your last dose.

“If you have high risks for having a serious case of COVID that would lead you to perhaps be hospitalized, and have a have a bad healthcare outcome from COVID, then the time is now if you are eligible,” Sifri said.

Though doctors say that there is still not an immediate rush if you’re not in the older age group, in a high risk job, or if you don’t have an underlying condition. You still have some protection. However, Sifri says you should still go when you can, since the vaccine’s effectiveness slowly wanes .

“I think that if you want to avoid COVID, being out of work or out of school or have the consequences of a COVID infection and potentially have some risk to your health and things long term, long COVID syndrome, then I’d also encourage it as well,” Sifri said.

Doctors say although this holiday season is not like last year, you should still be smart when it comes to COVID-19. Getting a booster shot is just another way to protect yourself.

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