Dr. Rai recommends boosters, child vaccinations ahead of holidays

Published: Nov. 16, 2021 at 7:14 AM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Now is the time to get your COVID-19 booster or vaccination as you get ready to celebrate the holidays. That’s the message from Prevea Health President and CEO Dr. Ashok Rai.

Dr. Rai joined us on Action 2 News This Morning to talk about surging cases in our area and how we can prevent rampant spread of the virus.

LOCAL SITUATION

“Unfortunately, the last time I was on we were talking about things declining and things have definitely shot up pretty significantly. We still start to see a lot of those cases per 100,000, our numbers in Brown County are outpacing the state, in other words we’re worse than the rest of the state. Our hospitalizations are continuing to climb, which is really concerning this time of year. As hospitalizations climb, that means that the beds we normally need this time of year are being occupied by a COVID patient. As we start talking about snow, unfortunately we get car accidents. We start talking about deer hunting, unfortunately we get accidents. We have trauma. We have heart attacks. That’s where those dozens and dozens of beds are needed in the winter time and right now, they’re being occupied by COVID patients. We have a lot of concern going into these next couple of months right now.”

HOLIDAYS

“As we approach Thanksgiving and we approach Christmas and the rest of our winter holidays, depending on what you celebrate, just celebrating snow, there are a few things I think we really need to focus on. One is boosters. I think we launched them and people understood they could get them, but the why behind it and who can get it, I don’t think that message has not been as strong. We’ve got a lot more proof even since we launched them, from a medial standpoint, from research standpoint, on how well boosters work at regaining that level of immunity, getting that immunity back up to that 90 percent protection against infection standpoint. And almost everybody’s eligible. If you got Moderna or Pfizer and you’re six months later, if you’re 65-and-older you most definitely should have had your booster by now, and if you’re not, it’s time to get it. For those of you who have underlying medical conditions, you should definitely be getting it too. Or if you work in high-risk professions. In other words, anybody who works with people falls in that high-risk profession. And the medical conditions, just being slightly overweight, a BMI of over 25, you should get a booster. So everybody really should be thinking, ‘If I’ve been vaccinated, I should get a booster. If I haven’t been vaccinated, this is a great time to start.’”

IMMUNITY

“As we start to see that immunity go down over the six months, or after the Johnson & Johnson they’re recommending a booster even after two months, it’s not that the immunity is completely disappearing, and I think that’s something we need to understand, but it goes down and it puts you at a little more increased risk and we want to get up to that really high level of protection. That’s what protects everybody and prevents that spread from becoming so rampant right now.”

CHILD VACCINATIONS

“As we talk about kids and we talk about the holidays and how excited they are to travel to see family or have family come in, now is the time to protect your child for Christmas, as example of a December holiday, because it takes five weeks to get protected. This is the week to get children vaccinated so they can enjoy their holidays, and more importantly, keep their family safe.”

TESTING

“As we approach the holidays, I think testing has two very important roles. The first is if you have symptoms, get tested and stay away from family that you could infect. So everybody should be getting tested. And as you approach the holidays, if you’re going into a high-risk environment, you have grandparents that you’re worried about, get tested. Get tested before the holidays. It’s not perfect, it’s not a replacement for vaccination before you gather, but it’s another tool on top of vaccination on top of masking that you can make sure that when you’re walking into grandma and grandpa’s house, that we have a pretty good, solid feeling that the chances are low--not zero--that you have COVID if you got tested before. Given that testing is so readily available and now even in our area with the state testing being run locally here at our local hospitals, the results are coming back so much faster, within hours rather than days, there’s really no reason not to get tested, especially if you have symptoms. Get tested, avoid your family, keep everybody safe.”

AARON RODGERS PARTNERSHIP ENDS

“I appreciate WBAY wanting to ask me, but unfortunately due to our contractual obligations the statement on the screen is all I really can say.”

STATEMENT: “Prevea Health remains deeply committed to protecting its patients, staff, providers and communities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes encouraging and helping all eligible populations to become vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent the virus from further significantly impacting lives and livelihoods.”

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