Between vaccine availability and COVID fatigue, forecasts for record-breaking travel show more Americans are gearing up to see loved ones this holiday season.
And health officials worry about another increasing trend — COVID-19 cases.
"Even in our updated data, unvaccinated people are at 14 times greater risk of dying from COVID-19 than people who are vaccinated," CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.
The U.S. saw its worst pandemic surge just after Thanksgiving last year.
The seven-day moving average of cases in the U.S. reached nearly 93,000 Friday. It was down to about 64,000 a month ago.
Now, ahead of the holidays, the nation's top medical experts urge people to get their booster dose of the vaccine after the CDC and FDA cleared it for everyone 18 and older Friday.
"Heading into the winter months when respiratory viruses are more likely to spread and with plans for increased holiday season travel and gathering, boosting people's overall protection against COVID-19 disease and death was important to do now," Walensky said.
And for kids 5-11, if they get the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine now, they'll get their second dose just before Christmas.
This comes as the White House announced Monday that 95% of federal workers are in compliance with the Biden administration's vaccine mandate.
Since the announcement of those mandates, about 40 million more Americans got the shot.
"Looking at the federal workforce vaccination data makes one thing obvious," White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said. "Vaccination requirements work."
But there are 60 million more people health officials are hoping to reach as COVID-19 deaths this year surpassed the number of people who died from the virus last year.