The majority of Kentucky families say they'll be gathering as usual for the holidays, according to a new poll.
More than eight in 10 Kentuckians responded it is "not too likely" or "not likely at all" COVID-19 would keep them from the festivities. Ben Chandler, CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, explained choosing to get vaccinated against both COVID and the flu can help protect loved ones.
He added the new survey results showed most Kentuckians see getting vaccinated as a personal choice.
"Nearly three-quarters of vaccinated Kentuckians were either 'very likely' or 'somewhat likely' to receive a COVID-19 booster shot if it's recommended to be taken annually, similar to the flu shot," Chandler reported.
More than 75% of people who have not yet received a COVID vaccine said they will definitely not get one.
The Kentucky Department for Public Health reported 58% of the population is fully vaccinated and 37% is boosted.
Chandler added frequent hand-washing and other simple but critical strategies for not spreading germs and viruses can help ensure people spend more quality time with family and friends.
"In cases where you feel particularly vulnerable, wear masks and make sure that you are not sick or symptomatic in any way when you do go to holiday functions." Dr. Christopher Jones, executive medical director of the Trager Transplant Center at University of Louisville Health, pointed out while some may think the pandemic is over, COVID-19 is still around, and RSV and influenza cases are on the rise.
He emphasized the elderly, the very young, and immunocompromised patients can become extremely ill from any one of the viruses.
"People are sicker than what they used to be when they would come in with RSV, or with the flu," Jones observed. "Everything is a little more heightened now, and we are seeing more people fill up our hospitals."
Jones emphasized receiving a flu shot and COVID booster are ways to avoid ending up in the emergency room. He also advised Kentuckians to be conscious about spending time indoors in crowded spaces unmasked, especially right before traveling.
Disclosure: The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Health Issues, and Smoking Prevention. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
This story was originally published by Public News Service and republished here with permission.
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