AUSTIN (KXAN) — As families prepare to gather for Thanksgiving break, doctors said it’s critical to get the COVID-19 booster to stay healthy.

“It is one of the most important tools that we have to actually fight COVID and the pandemic,” said Dr. Nieca Goldberg with the COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project.

“The new booster is what we call bivalent. It means it helps us develop immunity to the original strain of COVID, as well as the omicron strain of COVID.”

With other respiratory viruses circulating, Goldberg said the COVID-19 booster is still important.

“RSV cases are rising and it’s flu season, but we don’t want people to forget that the pandemic is still here. It hasn’t gone away yet,” said Goldberg.

Even if you recently had COVID-19, Goldberg said the booster is recommended within three months.

“We’ve found out by studying the antibodies of people who have infections, they’re not long-lasting. They last, maybe, for a few months but don’t protect us long-term against COVID and that’s I think people don’t know that. It’s an important fact that you can consider when you’re deciding to get vaccinated,” said Goldberg.