Thanksgiving week


Can you believe it’s already Thanksgiving? I can’t! If you are traveling or visiting family this week, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Cases are about to hit 100,000 per day again. Ugh, friends. Cases have increased 30% in 2 weeks and hospitalizations have increased by 6%. This is a very worrisome trend as we enter the winter months.

We are also beginning to see a rising trend in persons being hospitalized who have been fully vaccinated (1 J&J or 2 Pfizer/Moderna) BUT are not boosted.

Take home message: You need a booster!

Here’s why:

We know that protection wanes over time. Since the beginning of the pandemic, one of the nation’s leaders (and a trusted friend of mine), Dr. Peter Hotez, has said (along with other trusted people who know what they are talking about) that the COVID-19 vaccine regimens will likely be a 3-dose regimen (or 2-dose if you received J&J). (For clarification, this means that you would get your original vaccines plus a booster shot.) This means that boosters have always been part of the initial plan for vaccines with COVID-19 from the experts. Look at this graph for why:

Do you see what happens to your immune system response after a booster compared to the primary response after 2 doses of mRNA (or 1 J&J)? The immune system response goes WAY up to protect us. In fact, protection after a booster jumps backs up to 93% after waning a bit after the first 2 doses of mRNA or 1 J&J.

This week the CDC opened up boosters to everyone. If you’re confused about the recommendations, you’re not alone. Here’s my summary:

1. If you received J&J more than 2 months ago, get a booster.

  1. If you received 2 doses Pfizer/Moderna more than 6 months ago, get a booster.

  2. If you had COVID-19 and 1/2 doses of Pfizer/Moderna more than 6 months ago, get a booster.

  3. If you haven’t had a booster, get a booster. =)

  4. If you have questions on mix-and-matching boosters, go here.

I got my Pfizer booster a few weeks ago after my J&J shot in March.

Be careful this week, friends. In places like Michigan and Minnesota that are being slammed and other states that have increasing rates, be cautious about getting together - especially if you have high-risk individuals in your family that have not been boosted. Unfortunately, I think we are in for a yucky winter. Rates are increasing in nearly every state right now.

Positivity rates are also creeping up. In over 30 states, the positivity rates are well over the 8-10% threshold level. I’ve included the top few states here and you can find your state positivity rates here.

If you are getting together with family and not fully vaccinated+booster, take an antigen test prior to meeting. Wear masks. Stay outside when you can. Be cautious.

Happy thanksgiving, everyone.

I’m taking the rest of the week off to be with family and hope you have a great week too. A special thank you to all of you healthcare workers who are working over the holidays. We know you are tired and burned out and many of us see you. Thank you.

If you are in Houston, guess who is the Grand Marshall of the Thanksgiving Parade! None other than Dr. Peter Hotez - well deserved!


***I only respond and read comments here on Substack. I do not read or respond to comments via social media or email.