Get Vaccinated for COVID and Flu Before Thanksgiving, Urges CDC Director

With Thanksgiving just a couple of weeks away, it’s crucial to protect yourself from potentially deadly viruses that are common in the fall season.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, advised in an interview with CBS News that now is the best time to get vaccinated in preparation for the holiday season. She emphasized the importance of safeguarding against the flu and COVID by getting vaccinated to build immunity ahead of Thanksgiving.

Sharing her personal experience, Cohen mentioned that she received her COVID shot last month. She also acknowledged that the uptake of COVID vaccines in the U.S. has been slower than desired.

“I know folks want to leave COVID in the rear-view mirror, but unfortunately it is still here, and is still causing folks to get very sick and even die,” she said.

The CDC warned about the expected simultaneous circulation of flu, COVID, and RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus during this season. The severity of the situation will depend on vaccination levels.

Regarding RSV, Dr. Céline Gounder, a CBS News medical contributor, recommended early this season discussing with a health care provider the immunization to protect babies and the vaccine for people ages 60 and up.

Furthermore, additional precautions should be considered for Thanksgiving gatherings, even for fully vaccinated individuals. This includes staying home if sick, wearing a mask, and increasing ventilation. Possible options include arranging an outdoor meal if the weather allows.

“It’s really about, Who are you? What’s your personal risk? And who are you going to be around?” Cohen says.


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