Fauci: Enjoy Holidays With Family If You're Vaccinated

Ralph Ellis

December 03, 2021

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Despite the arrival of the Omicron variant in the United States, Americans should be able to safely spend time with family during the holidays – if they're vaccinated against COVID-19, Anthony Fauci, M.D. says.

"Just as I said and I'll say it again, if you have a vaccinated situation, enjoy the holidays with your family in a family setting," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at a CNN Global Town Hall on Wednesday.

The Omicron variant is so new that scientists don't know for sure if current vaccines provide good protection against it. But vaccines already offer protection against the Delta variant and the original COVID strain, so the same success may be seen with Omicron, Fauci said.

"That's where we're hoping we'll see with the Omicron variant, that if you get your levels high enough it'll spill over and get cross-protection against that variant," Fauci said.

People who haven't gotten their booster shot should go ahead and do so, Fauci advised, noting that it's not clear yet if people will need booster shots yearly or more frequently.

"Get that extra boost now," Fauci said. "The level of antibodies that rise and go up following a boost is much, much higher than the peak level that you get after your second dose of a two-dose vaccine."

Vaccinated people should be able to travel safely if they wear face masks, especially in airports and other congregate settings, Fauci said. Masks are required on commercial aircraft.

If you find yourself in an indoor setting and you don't know the vaccine status of other people, it would be a good idea to wear a mask, Fauci recommended.

"And one of the things that's very clear is that if you have to be in an indoor congregate setting in which you're unsure of what the vaccination status is of the people around you, wear a mask," he said.

The first confirmed case of the Omicron variant in the United States was identified in California on Wednesday in a fully vaccinated person who experienced mild symptoms. A second case was reported Thursday in Minnesota.

Omicron was first detected in South Africa. The United States and other nations have instituted travel restrictions on people from eight nations in Southern Africa in an attempt to limit the spread of the virus.

Sources

CNN. "You don't have to change holiday plans due to Omicron if you're vaccinated, Fauci says. But don't wait to get a booster"

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