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COVID Cases are Rising Ahead of Holiday Season

Experts urge vaccination, booster dose for eligible Americans to prevent holiday surge

November 17, 2021

The nation’s public health leaders today urged the 62 million unvaccinated Americans—as well as those eligible for a COVID-19 booster shot—to get vaccinated ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Getting vaccinated helps limit the spread of COVID-19 for you, your family, and your community this holiday season, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“What’s the best gift to give this year? Consider the gift of health. It’s priceless,” Dr. Walensky said. “As we head into the holiday and winter season, now is the time to think about protection for ourselves and our families.”

COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are rising overall, with 29 states reporting weekly increases and 18 states reporting weekly decreases. In Pennsylvania, cases have increased about 30 percent during the past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The call-to-action for vaccination was part of the White House’s weekly update from its COVID-19 Response Team. Among the highlights from today’s briefing:

  • Cases, hospitalizations, deaths:  The seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases has increased 14 percent (83,000 cases). New hospital admissions have increased 5.4 percent (5,300). The seven-day average for COVID-19 deaths is 1,030, a 4 percent decrease
  • Pediatric Rollout Begins:  An estimated 2.6 million children between 5 and 11 have received their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, including nearly 87,000 in Pennsylvania. That speed of the pediatric rollout is accelerating, officials said
  • Milestone:  About 80 percent of Americans 12 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Global vaccine efforts:  The U.S. is committed to donating 1.2 billion doses around the world. For every vaccine shot administered in the U.S., another three doses are donated globally
  • Quotable:  “Studies show that those who are unvaccinated continue to be more likely to be infected, more likely to be in the hospital, and more likely to have severe complications from COVID-19,” Dr. Walensky said

Dr. Walensky said the CDC strongly recommends booster doses for adults 65 and older and people living in long-term care facilities. These groups are at higher risk for severe outcomes from COVID-19 and the additional dose will increase their level of protection, she said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is evaluating the safety and efficacy of the booster dose for the general population 18 and older, she added.

Nearly eight million people in Pennsylvania are fully vaccinated. The state has administered nearly 1.3 million booster doses.

HAP will continue to monitor the latest COVID-19 public health developments and provide updates to members and the general public.

A replay of today’s briefing is available online.