Federal health officials urge precautions, vaccines ahead of Memorial Day holiday

Tyson Foods team members receive Covid-19 vaccines from health officials at the Wilkesboro, N.C. facility on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. (Melissa Melvin/AP Images for Tyson Foods)

The Atlanta-based U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages everyone to consider frequent testing, avoiding crowds and masking while indoors to help slow the spread of COVID-19, and for eligible people to get their vaccine shots and boosters.

With the Memorial Day holiday weekend approaching, the latest national COVID-19 numbers show an omicron subvariant continues to drive an uptick in cases and hospitalizations nationwide as well as in Georgia.

CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky spoke Wednesday at a White House briefing along with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to the President, and Dr. Ashish Jha, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator.

Walensky says people who remain unvaccinated are most vulnerable to the virus.

“Our vaccines, prevention measures and treatment options are working to save lives. However, we know that those who are not consistently using these tools when recommended continue to remain vulnerable to serious disease, hospitalization and death,” she says.

CDC data show that among people ages 50 to 64, 62 percent have not received a COVID 19 vaccine in the last six months.

Health officials say it’s especially critical for vulnerable older adults who haven’t had a second booster since December 2021 to get one.

While coronavirus cases remain lower than during the surge over the winter, the same numbers show the country is seeing an increase of around 26 percent over the previous week, and a three-fold increase over the last month.

And children ages 5 to 11 are now eligible for a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the Food and Drug Administration recently announced. Boosters are open to children in that age group who received a second vaccine dose at least five months ago.