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Not vaccinated for COVID or flu yet? Now's the time ahead of Thanksgiving, CDC director says.

Time to get vaccinations before holidays
CDC recommends COVID and flu vaccinations before Thanksgiving 01:58

With Thanksgiving only two weeks away, now's the time to get protected against potentially deadly fall viruses.

In an interview with CBS News, Dr. Mandy Cohen, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said this is the best window to get vaccinated to protect yourself and your family for the holiday.

"We know we're going to see more flu starting to circulate, and more COVID, so right now is a great time for you to get vaccinated. That way, your body can build up its protection ahead of the holiday season," she said.

Cohen got her COVID shot last month and acknowledged COVID vaccine uptake in the U.S. is a little slow.

"I know folks want to leave COVID in the rear-view mirror, but unfortunately it is still here, and is still causing folks to get very sick and even die," she said.

The CDC says it expects to see flu, COVID and RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, all circulating at the same time this season, but how severely could depend on vaccination levels.

For RSV, an illness that typically causes cold-like symptoms but can sometimes be severe, especially for infants and older adults, there are a few prevention tools, including an immunization to protect babies and a vaccine for people ages 60 and up.

"Talk to your health care provider and see if they recommend it for you," Dr. Céline Gounder, a CBS News medical contributor and editor-at-large for public health at KFF Health News, suggested earlier this fall.

Even if you are fully vaccinated, there are additional precautions to consider for Thanksgiving gatherings, including staying home if you're sick, wearing a mask in some situations, and increasing ventilation. If weather allows, for example, consider a meal outside.

"It's really about, Who are you? What's your personal risk? And who are you going to be around?" Cohen says.

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