Dec 23, 2021 - Health

Fauci: Large holiday gatherings are unsafe, even with COVID booster

  Anthony Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the President, gives an update on the Omicron COVID-19 variant during the daily press briefing at the White House on December 01.

Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Biden, during a December press briefing at the White House. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci warned Wednesday that large gatherings this holiday season are unsafe even for fully vaccinated people who've had a COVID-19 booster shot, as the Omicron variant surges across the U.S.

What he's saying: "There are many of these parties that have 30, 40, 50 people in which you do not know the vaccination status of individuals," Fauci said at a briefing. "Those are the kind of functions in the context of Omicron that you do not want to go to."

  • Fully vaccinated families should be safe to attend smaller gatherings, Fauci said.

What to watch: Fauci noted that early research from the U.K. and South Africa indicates that Omicron may be less severe than other variants.

  • But he added: "We must wait to see what happens in our own population, which has its own demographic considerations."

Go deeper: What to do about Omicron over the holidays

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