You should get boosted today

Doing so could keep you out of the hospital this Christmas, Dr. Fauci reminds us.

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 09: Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to U.S. President Joe Biden a...
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Cases of coronavirus skyrocketed in the U.S. over the weekend, as did our collective anxiety. Right now, delta is still the dominant strain in the U.S., but omicron is spreading rapidly. Since the beginning of the pandemic, it has been difficult to keep up with the changing recommendations of public health officials. Does keeping each other safe mean just staying home? No. Experts agree on one thing for sure, though: If you’re eligible, you need to get a booster now.

The importance of boosters is, apparently, not obvious to everyone. “A big message for today is if you’ve had vaccines and a booster, you’re very well protected against Omicron causing you severe disease,” Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told CBS yesterday. “So, anybody listening to this who’s in that 60% of Americans who are eligible for a booster but haven’t yet gotten one: This is the week to do it. Do not wait.”

On Sunday, Anthony Fauci said that being fully vaccinated is still your best chance against severe disease, CNN reported. According to the C.D.C., 27% of U.S. residents haven’t even gotten a single dose of the vaccine. Add that to the 60% Collins mentioned, and that is a lot of Americans who don’t have the protection they need against coronavirus.

But can’t you get COVID — particularly the omicron kind — even if you are fully vaccinated and have had your booster? Yes. As we saw over the weekend, a slew of public figures — notably Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker — have tested positive for coronavirus despite having all three shots. But — and this is a big but — people who have received booster vaccination seem to be having much less severe illnesses. “Thankfully, I am only experiencing mild symptoms & am grateful for the protection provided against serious illness that comes from being vaccinated & boosted," Warren tweeted.

The truth is that we don't exactly know what kind of threat omicron poses, but we do know that we need all the protection we can get, and health experts consistently agree that being fully protected means getting boosters. "When you get to Omicron, the protection significantly goes down," Fauci told CNN. "But the good news is when you boost someone, it goes right back up.