Stay safe this holiday season as health experts learn more about the Omicron variant

From ALLtech medical provider Regence BlueShield

As more Omicron cases are confirmed and the world waits to learn more about the variant’s severity, many of us are wondering how we can stay safe this holiday season. Vaccine availability and testing make holiday travel to see family and friends seem easier, but it’s important to stay safe and take steps to protect ourselves and loved ones.

“Many families sacrificed their holiday plans in 2020 or shifted to virtual gatherings, so it’s difficult to imagine doing the same again this time around,” said Dr. Drew Oliveira, senior executive medical director for Regence. “But we can’t let our guard down while more is learned about COVID-19 and emerging variants, especially given more people are traveling and gathering indoors. We may see a surge in infections, especially in places with low vaccination rates, so we must continue protecting one another by taking the appropriate precautions.”

Get vaccinated for the flu and COVID-19 including your booster

The best way to prevent severe illness and hospitalization from COVID-19 and the flu is to get vaccinated, whether at your doctor’s office or at a pharmacy in your health plan network. For people age 18 and older who are fully vaccinated, getting their COVID-19 booster shot will improve the body’s immune response to infection. While no vaccine provides 100% immunity, all three COVID-19 vaccines significantly reduce severe illness and hospitalization. In the U.S. nearly all cases of severe COVID-19 illness, hospitalization and death have occurred with unvaccinated people.

Everyone eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine is encouraged to get their shots. COVID-19 vaccines are fully covered, and most health plans cover the flu vaccine as well.

Mask-up, wash hands, physical distance, test, isolate if sick. Repeat.

It’s good to remember these preventive practices that can help reduce the risk of infection, keeping you and your community safe.

  • Wear a mask and use physical distancing in public spaces
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Test for COVID-19 if you have symptoms or have been in contact with an infected person
  • Self-isolate if you receive a positive result
  • If you aren’t feeling well, stay home and rest

More information about the available COVID-19 vaccines, including booster shots, is available on the CDC website. Visit the Washington State Department of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine page or the CDC’s Vaccine Finder page to find out where all eligible people ages 5 and older can get a COVID-19 vaccine.

For members enrolled in ALLtech, more information about your coverage for COVID-19 vaccinations, testing and treatment can be found at