Vaccines are starting to become available across the country, and in many places, access is being offered in a phased approach, with older adults receiving priority.
Because of this, it may soon be the case that families will be in a situation where older relatives have been vaccinated but younger ones have not.
This raises the question, how safe is it for younger, unvaccinated, family members to visit their older relatives who have received the vaccine?
The first thing to keep in mind is that, while COVID-19 is still spreading, whenever two or more people are in close contact with each other, there is a risk of transmitting the virus.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t reason to be optimistic. The vaccines have been game-changers in terms of allowing people to return to some normal activities in a responsible, cautious way. Older adults who are vaccinated do have added protection and can feel more at ease about engaging in activities with people who qualify as low-risk.
However, the pandemic is not over and our return to a more “normal” way of life is a process.
The basic facts are that community transmission is still occurring and that vaccination of the population has only just begun.
If you do decide to visit your older relatives who have received the vaccine, but you yourself have not, it’s important to understand the risks. The vaccines have been shown to be 94 to 95 percent effective. With the current rates of virus transmission, that 5 percent chance still poses some risk, especially to older adults who are at higher risk of developing several illness and requiring hospitalization.
It also remains to be seen just what impact the vaccines will have on the emerging variants of COVID-19 that are more contagious.
So the best course of action is to remain diligent about wearing masks, washing hands, keeping physical distance, and limiting contact with other people.
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