WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — New statistics show that the elderly are still dying of COVID-19, and medical experts say it is important to encourage efforts to protect them from exposure.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said that the majority of deaths from the coronavirus are now among the elderly as nine of the 10 people who die are 65 and up.

With the holiday season coming into full swing next month, there is growing concern among medical experts that people 65 years of age and older are at greater risk of exposure and death.

Even though some have declared the coronavirus pandemic over, elderly people still have serious vulnerabilities when it comes to exposure to the virus.

While being vaccinated helps, experts say it isn’t a surefire way to keep an elderly person from getting sick and risking their lives.

Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, a pulmonary and critical care medicine physician who has treated Covid patients, said the strategy for the elderly is to not only survive the virus but not even catch it.

“The vaccine, while they help keep the odds in every population’s favor, they won’t be able to be 100% effective across the age population,” Galiatsatos said.

The vaccine, he said, is “another extra layer of protection such as face masking or being mindful of not presenting yourself around them if you have symptoms.”

And that’s one of Galiatsatos’ biggest concerns as families gather over the holidays in large groups, traditionally breeding grounds in the past two years when experts would see COVID deaths spike.

“I’m hopeful that most individuals out there, not everyone, understand that you can have these family gatherings safely where people can leave with good memories and good times and not with something infectious like COVID,” he said.

“As the holidays approach, I would recommend is making sure that you are in constant connection with your family and your friends who you are inviting over,” he added. “And if you’re going to have vulnerable individuals such as the elderly…a couple of things I would emphasize. If you are not feeling well, don’t come.”

Galiatsatos said that if you have a runny nose or sniffles and are around the elderly, “wear a face mask at these family gatherings” and try to stay a distance away while eating.