ATLANTA - With cases of the new omicron variant now detected in 19 states and 50 countries, more Americans appear to be rolling up their sleeves to get vaccinated.
White House officials say 12.5 million Americans got a COVID-19 shot last week, the highest number since May.
About a million of those getting shots each day are getting boosters.
Dr. Alexander Millman, Chief Medical Officer for the Georgia Department of Public Health, says he is hopeful more Georgians will get protected ahead of the omicron variant and the holidays.
He says several counties in North Georgia have reported a rise in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations are once again increasing in some areas, although case numbers and hospitalizations are nowhere close to the summer surge.
"We are currently at 52% fully vaccinated for our state," Dr. Millman says. "This is significant progress, but there is still more work to be done to try to get more Georgians vaccinated."
Millman says it is too soon to say whether this new omicron variant is more contagious or severe that the other variants or how well the COVID-19 vaccines and treatments will protect against it.
But, Millman says the delta variant, which is surging again in many Northern states, is the real problem right now.
The U.S. is averaging over 100,000 new cases, 6,800 new hospitalizations and 1,100 deaths a day.
"So really the most important thing right now with this new variant as well as the delta variant is to get vaccinated," he says. "So, for individuals who are unvaccinated, they should get vaccinated. For individuals who are vaccinated, they should get their booster shot."
Dr. Millman also recommends layers protective measures, wearing a mask in crowded indoors spaces, staying 6 feet apart from people in public settings, and getting tested before and after traveling or going to a holiday gathering.