COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – The fight against COVID-19 continues as the holiday season is in full swing new concerns over the Omicron variant are arising. National and local health officials are no longer focused solely on getting the unvaccinated, vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine, but they’re urging the vaccinated population to receive their booster dose.

Executive Director of the COVID task force for the Piedmont Healthcare System Dr. Jayne Morgan explained the booster is critical for those fully vaccinated to maintain their armor against the COVID-19 virus.

“Well we also have this very large, larger actually vaccinated population and we want to continue to make certain that they are protected from the threats of these variants that come into our environment,” said Dr. Morgan. “And so in doing so, we have to make certain that patients and people understand that these boosters are going to be very, very important to make certain that you always have your best armor on.”

All adults 18+ are eligible to receive a booster vaccine if their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine was received six or more months ago. Those who received the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine are encouraged to get their booster after only two months.

Dr. Morgan said the booster vaccines are necessary as research shows after a certain timeline the effectiveness of these vaccines begins to decrease. She also added that after recent data scientists and experts are seeing these vaccines probably should have been developed in a three dose series instead of the two dose formula we see now.

“So here we are, looking at that third dose or these booster doses, such that we can make certain that we still have maximal protection of our immune systems as we see this virus continue to mutate and change and be ever present in our environment,” said Dr. Morgan.

With the holiday season and travel underway Dr. Morgan said we can expect to see a spike in COVID-19 cases from the Thanksgiving holiday in about two weeks, which will also be two weeks away from the Christmas holiday.

Preventing the spread of COVID-19 goes beyond booster vaccines Dr. Morgan said it’s important to use certain precautions like social distancing, good hygiene and mask wearing in situations that have the potential to spread the virus or its variants because the booster vaccine will not keep you from coming into contact with COVID-19.

“It does keep your immunity system revved up, so those antibodies and also those t-cells, cell mediated immunity, which we really don’t spend enough time talking about.,” said Dr. Morgan. “We keep those as high as we possibility can because that is the armor that protects you should you come in contact with COVID, that keeps you well and keeps you from being infected.”

In addition to urging booster vaccines Dr. Morgan is also urging those who are unvaccinated to get vaccinated against COVID-19.