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Pierce County doctor stresses importance of COVID-19 vaccine leading into holiday season

Despite the high demand for booster shots in Pierce County, the numbers for fully vaccinated people are still falling short.

Another holiday season is here during the COVID-19 pandemic. With Thanksgiving just a week away, health of family and friends remains a top concern. 

Data from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department (TPCHD) show a high number of administered booster shots.

Dr. John Vassall, who has worked with TPCHD, says the booster takes about ten days to two weeks before it’s fully effective.

But if you haven’t received one in time for Thanksgiving, Vassall says being vaccinated should be sufficient for someone with a healthy immune system. The boosters are designed to help certain groups of people who need extra protection.

“They are definitely recommended for people who are 65 and older, people who’ve had organ transplants or are on medication that suppress their immune system, those people need boosters,” Vassall said. “They’re optional for others, for younger and healthier individuals because their immune response was probably good to begin with.”

Despite the high demand for booster shots in Pierce County, the numbers for fully vaccinated people are still falling short.

Pierce County is still lagging behind other population centers in western Washington, but Vassall says as long as authorities keep promoting the benefits of vaccination, the county will eventually catch up.

“We are finding that more people are getting vaccinated at a higher rate for various reasons, and thankfully that’s happening, because that’s how we’ll get out of this pandemic,” Vassall said.

He stressed that the booster is only for those who’ve already gotten vaccinated, it can’t be taken on its own.

But precautions like wearing masks, washing your hands, and social distancing should be effective in keeping you safe from the virus while you enjoy time with your loved ones.

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