SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As we get ready to gather for the holidays, doctors are encouraging people who are not vaccinated to get their shot.

And those who are vaccinated to get their booster. More than 7,000 people in South Dakota are infected with the virus right now. And with the holidays approaching the chances of spreading the virus will skyrocket. It may be too late to get much protection from a booster shot for Christmas, but not for New Year’s gatherings.

According to the CDC, the vaccines will give you some protection after one week and the most protection from the booster after two weeks. Dr. David Erickson, the Chief Medical and Innovation Officer for Avera Health says the life you save might not be your own, but of someone, you care for. He says Delta variant is surging right now in KELOLAND and it is just a matter of time before the even more contagious Omincron variant is discovered here.

Sanford Health’s Chief Physician says whether you’ve had COVID-19 before or your two shot series, a booster is the single most important thing you can do to stop the virus.

“Your immunity effectively doubles it goes from 30 or 40 percent up to 70 or 80 percent, and that 70 or 80 percent is absolutely one of those things that if you are going to a big family Christmas or if you are planning to go out to a New Year’s Eve party it might be exactly the thing that you want to do,” said Dr. Cauwels.

In KELOLAND, more than 90-percent of the people hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated. Dr. Cauwels says he would love the opportunity to sit down and have a cup of coffee with everyone who isn’t vaccinated.

“I think it is important to recognize that most people come to the decision they’ve made in a very honest and forthright point of view. They’ve done their reading they’ve listened to the people they feel are important and they’ve come to a decision. What I would like to do is just sit down and help them understand how I came to my decision. The reason I vaccinated my family, the reason I’ve taken 3 shots myself,” said Cauwels.

The Omicron variant is spreading fast among the unvaccinated. And it appears to be better at infecting somebody who had either a previous infection or the initial series of vaccinations. Doctors say that’s why a booster is needed.