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Health officials recommend COVID boosters ahead of the holidays so Oklahomans 'can celebrate safely together'

A health care worker fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
A health care worker fills a syringe with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

Whether you’re celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas or Kwanzaa, health officials are giving the same advice when it comes to COVID-19: It’s the right time to get your booster if you plan on visiting people outside your household for the holidays.

“We recommend getting your booster dose as you are preparing for the holiday season this year. It’s just one more thing you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones so we can celebrate safely together. Vaccines – so, first doses, second doses and booster doses – are readily available across the state,” said Oklahoma State Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gitanjali Pai.

Pfizer and Moderna boosters are approved for all adults who had their second shot at least six months ago. Johnson & Johnson boosters are approved for people who got their shot at least two months ago. Appointments are available at vaccinate.OK.gov, through your local health department, at pharmacies and doctors’ offices, or by calling 211.

“I’ll just mention that it does take two weeks for immunity to peak after we get a vaccine dose. And so, while the immunity does start building – the process does start after you get the vaccine – it does take two weeks for that immunity to peak. And so, it’s encouraged that people get their boosters as soon as they are eligible,” Pai said.

Cases are trending up nationwide, driven by spikes in the Midwest and Northeast, and global health officials are keeping an eye on a new variant, Omicron, that’s become dominant in Africa and starting to pop up on other continents.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.