RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As people gather with family and friends for the holiday season, there’s a renewed push for more people to get the most recent COVID-19 booster shot. 

In North Carolina, the state Dept. of Health and Human Services reports that as of Wednesday, 16 percent of the vaccinated population has received the new booster which targets recent omicron variants and the original virus strain. 

Citing low uptake across the country, federal officials launched a campaign this week aimed at driving those numbers higher. It came as a new CDC study found the new booster provides 30 to 56 percent greater protection against symptomatic infection depending on factors like age and previous vaccinations, according to the Associated Press.  

Dennis Taylor, who recently served as president of the N.C. Nurses Association, said he’s “extremely” concerned by the pace of vaccinations. 

“To really be effective against the most recent variants that we have in this virus, it’s extremely important that people get this booster,” he said. “It may not prevent you from getting the virus. What it will do, I believe, is lessen what symptoms you have.” 

North Carolina and other states in the southeast have been seeing unusually high activity of flu-like illnesses already this season as COVID-19, influenza and, RSV are all circulating. 

“Those three things all hitting the healthcare system at the same time is somewhat concerning, especially for those of us that work in the more acute-care settings,” said Taylor. 

The AARP, which tracks vaccination rates in nursing homes, reports that 19 percent of employees in those facilities in North Carolina are up to date on their vaccinations. About 44 percent of residents are up to date. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent a memo to facility managers this week reminding them of requirements to educate residents on the benefits of vaccines. CMS also noted they’ll undertake enforcement actions against facilities that don’t comply and will refer facilities with low vaccination rates to state agencies for “close scrutiny.”  

The government will allocate $350 million to community health centers to undertake efforts to make vaccines more easily accessible and $125 million to get more older Americans and those with disabilities vaccinated. 

Doctors are battling against so-called “COVID fatigue” among the public and misinformation on social media as they try to convince more people to get up to date on vaccinations.  

“You can decide to trust America’s physicians or you can trust some random dude on Twitter. Those are your choices,” Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, said this week.  

The CDC reports that 26.3 percent of adults have gotten the flu vaccine this year compared to 23 percent at this same point a year ago.