Health officials urge COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters as cases rise

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Posted at 6:58 AM, May 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 08:57:32-04

TAMPA, Fla. — “Cases in Florida are up about 25%. Hillsborough County is up. Positivity is up,” said Dr. Jill Roberts, Associate Professor for the USF College of Public Health.

Top health officials warn this trend may continue, with projection models showing a significant wave on the horizon.

“Right now what we’re kind of watching is that omicron is still going around. Everyone expected that the virus would continue to mutate,” said Roberts.

There’s now a renewed effort from the federal level to make sure everyone is fully vaccinated.

“One of the major reasons we want to do this is that there was a notation during omicron that we started to see a lot more cases of people getting sick who were actually vaccinated,” said Roberts.

According to researchers, most people did not get booster shots. Vaccination rates have drastically slowed down.

“They got that primary series one and two and then some people got boosted but a lot of people didn’t,” said Roberts.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show about 220 million people are fully vaccinated, that’s just over 66% of the population.

Now experts are urging people to get boosted ahead of the summer. Some are worried traveling will fuel a spike even more.

“It remains to be seen what happens with all this travel,” said Roberts.

“There are certain parts of the country though that are hot spots right now. So if you are going to travel, especially to the northeastern part of the country check ahead. Be aware there may be significant amount of coronavirus,” she added.

In the meantime, as cases rise again officials suggest considering taking some extra precautions.

“I think it’s time to have that we had that conversation about what your risks are again,” said Roberts.

For anyone high risk, immunocompromised, or participating in activities with large crowds in indoor spaces, doctors say it might be a good idea to put the masks back on.