Is it safe to hug your grandchildren after you get the vaccine?

hug grandchildren after vaccine
Photo via Ricardo Moraleida/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)
  • This story is regularly updated for relevance. Last updated: May 19, 2021

More than 122 million Americans have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. A big percentage of that group is people over the age of 65—and many who are grandparents who want to know if it is safe to hug their grandchildren after they get the vaccine. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released its preliminary guidelines for what you should and shouldn’t do once you’ve been fully vaccinated and then waited 10 days for the vaccine to take effect fully. 

According to the CDC, while data shows that those with the vaccine are very unlikely to get COVID, health experts don’t yet know how easily vaccinated people can unknowingly spread the virus to others. Therefore, you should practice caution with any socializing you do with unvaccinated people. 

However, the CDC did specify that “you can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.” 

In mid-May, the CDC said that, for the most part, people don’t need to wear masks inside or outdoors if they’re vaccinated.

That means that if you’ve had the vaccine and your grandchildren live locally, it is safe to see them and, yes, hug them. 

Harvard Health Publishing also recommends that you continue to wash your hands often, wear masks when in close contact, hang out outdoors when possible, and limit how much time you spend with unvaccinated people. 

The CDC does not recommend traveling to visit your grandkids, however, until COVID-19 infections decline and more Americans get vaccinated. 

Additionally, the CDC recommends staying home if you’ve been around someone who had COVID-19, as you can still potentially spread the virus. 

CNN reports that CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a White House briefing on March 8 that these guidelines will evolve as more Americans get the vaccine. 

“COVID-19 continues to exert a tremendous toll on our nation. Like you, I want to be able to return to everyday activities and engage with our friends, families, and communities,” Walensky said. “Science, and the protection of public health, must guide us as we begin to resume these activities. Today’s action represents an important first step. It is not our final destination.”

After you get the vaccine, is it safe to …

Sources: NPR, CDC, Harvard, CNN

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