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The holidays give us the perfect opportunity to spend time with friends and family. People travel across the country to meet and gather with loved ones. Usually, because of the cold weather, we tend to meet in small, enclosed spaces, which can increase your risk of getting COVID-19. Americans have to remain vigilant and ensure to take all the necessary steps to avoid COVID-19.

This will be our third pandemic holiday season and people may be experiencing pandemic fatigue; however, there is most likely going to be another COVID surge so we should not let our guard down now. The past two years have been incredibly challenging, but we have the tools to help us have a normal holiday season. Follow these steps to ensure that your family’s holiday plans will pan out smoothly.

One easy step that can be done is to get the updated booster. The updated bivalent booster is available to people who are 5 years and older and you can get the flu shot at the same time. It was reported in early October, that only 4% of eligible Americans got the new booster. Places in Europe such as Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, and Austria are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, and the United States will likely experience a similar surge in the next upcoming weeks. That is why it is important to stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccinations. The new COVID-19 booster and flu shot are available at doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, and pharmacies. Aim to get the new booster as soon as possible so that it will provide the best immunity during holiday gatherings such as Thanksgiving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that people should get the new booster at least two months from their last infection of COVID-19 or vaccination.  

It’s important to adjust plans for family members who may be high risk. Specifically, taking the extra step by establishing precautions can help them avoid sickness. This could include limiting the number of people who attend holiday gatherings, wearing masks, getting tested before meeting, or eating outside. If you cannot meet outside, then consider having the windows open to help with the airflow.

Before meeting family and friends at holiday events, you should look out for COVID symptoms that you may develop. If you have a sore throat, congestion, coughing, and muscle pain you should get tested for COVID-19. If you test negative on a rapid test but still feel sick, you should stay at home because those tests are not always accurate. You may want to try to decrease your risk of exposure the week before the holidays by wearing a mask in crowded indoor public spaces. If you’re planning on flying or taking the train, you should wear a mask and encourage the people whom you are traveling with to do the same. It is suggested to use masks like N95 and KN95 as they offer the best protection.

Masking up, testing, and socially distancing can help prevent the spreading of COVID-19; however, the best protection is getting the new bivalent booster.

Esperanza is hosting a COVID-19 and flu vaccination clinic on Saturday, November 19th from 10 AM-2 PM at St. Hugh of Cluny Church (145 W Tioga Street).

The booster will help increase your level of protection so that you can have a safe and fun-filled holiday season!

This is an excellent opportunity to get vaccinated before the holiday season begins. For more information, contact Christina Gareis at 215-324-0746 Ext. 277.


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