A: We offer a few guiding principles.
Severe complications of COVID-19 infection are significantly decreased among the vaccinated but infection risk is not zero. Unvaccinated people remain at risk of infection +/- complications. Determine what is important. Maintain as many risk mitigation strategies as realistic. This is not over yet.
☠️ Vaccination greatly decreases the likelihood of severe illness and death from COVID-19 among the vaccinated. This is fantastic news! Breathe a bit easier knowing the chance of infecting and potentially killing older people who have completed their vaccination series and waited 2-3 weeks is significantly decreased. This is a key benefit for vaccinated individuals.
📉 Vaccination *probably* decreases transmission from vaccinated individuals to unvaccinated individuals but we don’t know how much. It remains possible for a vaccinated person to transmit SARS-CoV-2 to an unvaccinated person even if the vaccinated person never gets sick. Early evidence suggests the risk of transmission among vaccinated individuals is lower, potentially significantly lower, but the level of risk reduction remains unclear.
🤒 Unvaccinated people are still at risk for COVID-19 infection. Unvaccinated kids and adults can get infected, they can get sick, and they can spread infection to others. We have not reached herd immunity status where the virus lacks new hosts to infect. COVID-19 is still with us.
SO WHAT DO I DO?!?
🗓️ Figure out what is essential and make a plan. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to remain hunkered down until all children are vaccinated. That said, throwing up our hands and giving up on the mitigation measures will hurt individuals we love and society as a whole. We must persevere through the in-between for a while longer.
💉 If you are eligible for vaccination, get it. Vaccination brings down the risk of infection and complications within your crew even if it’s not fail proof.
😷 Stay SMART. Be sure to follow all public health ordinances in place for your location. Layering on the mitigation strategies (SPACE, MASKS, AIR, RESTRICTED NETWORKS, TIME) decreases risk for everyone in the group. If it’s possible to achieve your goals outside, masked, with a select few, over a few hours versus a few days – KEEP THE MITIGATION MEASURES. If a longer and more intimate visit is required, add on quarantine days and asymptomatic testing, especially for unvaccinated people.
🤗 Be realistic with yourself and others. Some will prefer to remain vigilant with all risk mitigation strategies (including delaying the get together for a bit) while others are ready to accept some level of risk. You can control your actions and reactions, but generally not other people. Be honest with what you are comfortable doing. Be transparent with your expectations prior to the event. Be ready to pivot if an agreement can’t be made. Trust and communication are the keys to success.
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