By Kristina Rex

BOSTON (CBS) – The holiday season of 2020 brought with it the highest surge in infection rates of COVID-19 that Massachusetts had seen since the pandemic started. So, what will 2021 look like, now that the state is highly vaccinated?

“I don’t think a surge like our winter surge last year is a possibility,” said Dr. Shira Doron of Tufts Medical Center. “I mean, the only thing I know is that I never know anything about this virus, so I don’t think but I’m not saying it’s not possible.”

In the last few weeks, cases have slowly started to rise. The seven-day average was 1,182 on November 3. On November 10, it had jumped to 1,481. One important thing to note, Dr. Doron said: the decoupling of infection rates and hospitalizations. With a highly vaccinated community, hospitalizations don’t drastically rise with case counts.

Because of this, Dr. Doron told WBZ-TV she’s advising people to gather for the holidays this year. “Family gatherings have become really quite safe and of course family gatherings, holidays, traditions, those are really, really, important things that we can’t put off forever,” she said.

Though, if there are families who do feel nervous about getting infected, there are still measures to take. “Like wearing masks indoors if you want to, like taking a test before, you know things like that,” Doron explained. “But in general, I think that those who have chosen to be vaccinated have done the most important thing they could do to protect themselves and their families.”

That list includes dozens of kids and parents at a vaccine clinic in Jamaica Plain Thursday night, many of whom plan to still take it easy this holiday season.

“I’m still very cautious. We still don’t do much outside of our safe circle,” said Mina Kalemkeryan, as she escorted her ten-year-old son from his vaccine appointment. “We are going to have a quiet holiday,” she added. “We are not going to have a big family party or get together or travel, but just going to stay local and low-key.”

“I’m a little less anxious than last year but definitely a little anxious,” added Francesca Gazzaniga, who had brought her five-year-old son for a shot. “We have rapid tests at home so we can all test before we see some family members.”

Kristina Rex