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Even if you’re vaccinated, coming down with a case of the Omicron variant might be on the horizon for you or a loved one.

NBC News Medical Contributor and Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Metric Sciences Dr. Vin Gupta explained on the Today show earlier this week that despite the possibility of experiencing a breakthrough COVID case, getting vaccinated is of the utmost importance because it still lowers your chance of needing hospitalization.

“We have to get comfortable with fully vaccinated folks testing positive, that’s going to be our new normal,” Dr. Gupta told the Today show hosts on Dec. 16. “But people should not worry about that because the purpose of vaccines is not to prevent a positive test or a respiratory virus like Omicron, it’s to keep you out of the hospital, and that’s exactly what they’re doing.”

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“With respiratory viruses, we can’t ever prevent a positive test or mild symptoms,” the doctor explained. “They’re totally okay and that’s what we expect. The vaccines are doing exactly what they should be for respiratory viruses, they’re keeping people out of the hospital and that’s a success.”

“Myself and colleagues at hospitals across the country, we’re expecting, frankly, 10,000 weekly deaths, week over week, well into the beginning of March,” he noted. “So this is going to be a very difficult three to four months ahead.”

Quite simply, Dr. Gupta emphasized that the facts are the facts. The importance of being vaccinated to maintain continued protection against contracting a severe and or fatal case of COVID can’t be understated.

“Our booster vaccine regimens work against omicron,” the doctor said. “At this point, there is no need for a very specific booster. And so the message remains clear: If you are unvaccinated, get vaccinated. And particularly in the arena of Omicron, if you are fully vaccinated, get your booster shot.”

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Dr. Gupta’s regards come less than a month after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention classified the Omicron variant as a Variant of Concern. According to the public health agency, the Omicron variant will likely “spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus,” although how easily Omicron spreads compared to the Delta variant “remains unknown.”

The CDC has also made similar statements to Dr. Gupta — that “breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur.”

Stay safe out there.

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