Tips on staying safe during your Thanksgiving holiday amid the COVID pandemic

Getting a booster shot is your best bet, say USC Student Health’s Sarah Van Orman and Deona Willes of USC Environmental Health and Safety.

November 19, 2021 USC staff

USC Student Health’s Sarah Van Orman and Deona Willes of USC Environmental Health and Safety offer these thoughts on safety enjoying the upcoming holidays:

Getting a booster shot for COVID-19 is strongly recommended. With the combination of colder weather keeping people indoors, the waning of vaccine and natural immunity, and more mingling among non-household members, California public health officials are urging residents to get vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible to help prevent a possible winter surge in COVID-19 cases. If you have received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines and six months or more have passed since your second dose, you are eligible for a booster dose. If you have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and two months or more have passed since your dose, you are eligible for a booster dose. 

Boosters are recommended for individuals working in educational settings, working in health care settings, or living in congregate living situations (residence halls, housing arrangements with multiple residents in close contact), and other environments common in the USC community. USC Pharmacies offer campus vaccination; MyTurn provides appointments at retailers across California. You may choose to receive any vaccine as your booster. 

Other COVID safety tips for Thanksgiving

Test before travel, and after you return; if you have symptoms, do not travel. See the CDC Safer Travel Guide for additional travel tips. 

Complete your flu vaccine. Getting your flu vaccine earlier in the season provides better protection for you, and for the community. (USC faculty, staff and students are reminded that Trojan Check will activate check for flu compliance in December.)

Consider CDC Safer Ways to Celebrate Holidays to minimize risk to family and friends during celebrations. Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission. Remember:

  • Outdoors is safer than indoors. Avoid crowded, poorly ventilated spaces. 
  • If you are sick or have symptoms, don’t host or attend a gathering. 
  • Get tested if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have a close contact with someone who has COVID-19.