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Don’t act surprised if vaccine comes up
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Don’t act surprised if vaccine comes up

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Experts are warning it’s going to be a busy Christmas on the nation’s highways and in its airports. There’s going to be a lot of traveling. Americans who were locked up last year during the first wave of the COVID pandemic are ready to put 2020 behind them.

Folks aren’t about to be locked up again. They’re planning to share the holidays with their families, including older relatives who are susceptible to the coronavirus and other relatives who are unvaccinated and might spread the virus at the get-together.

“Although the festive period is typically one in which extended families celebrate together, difficult questions will need to be addressed regarding people’s vaccination status, not only in facilities such as nursing homes, but within families too,” said a spokesperson for the Duffy & Duffy medical malpractice law firm in New York City.

Observing that the omicron variant has been detected in nearly all states, and that omicron is much more contagious than the delta variant it appears to be replacing, medical experts are worried that Americans could be facing a nationwide post-holiday surge of infections unless tough decisions are made. Duffy & Duffy commissioned a nationwide survey to uncover how prevalent family vaccine mandates will be during the holidays. The survey found almost half of Nebraska households will enforce their own mandates. The reason: to protect elderly relatives.

At gatherings, the vaccination status of guests may be unknown. It’s the elephant in the room, but many Americans remain firm in their decision not to be vaccinated. How many might be unvaccinated? According to the Duffy & Duffy poll, about 19% of people still say they don’t intend to get the shot.

This presents a problem. Some people at gatherings might feel hesitant to mingle with family that is unvaccinated, and on a more serious note, it could be downright dangerous to mingle, especially if you’re elderly or dangerously susceptible to infection.

Forty-five percent of Nebraskans told survey takers they would consider not inviting unvaccinated family members, but what if the invitations are already in the mail? When is the appropriate time to ask family members if they are vaccinated? Christmas Eve is too late. We suggest that among families, vaccination status should be an open subject discussed respectfully and honestly. It would be healthy for family members on both sides to understand and accept their decision and the consequences.

For example, for some families there could be health risks and complications associated with their parents or grandparents leaving their care facility.

Duffy & Duffy noted that people with relatives in care facilities — about 77% — believe employees of those facilities should be fully vaccinated so they can’t spread coronavirus at work among residents.

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