formats

Visiting after the COVID-19 vaccine

Joan Hatem-Roy, Chief Executive Officer

Q: My 95-year-old grandmother resides in a long-term care facility that is scheduled to get the first round of COVID vaccinations in the next two weeks. My parents, both in their middle 70s, live at home and aren’t sure when they will get vaccinated.

Does this mean I will be able to visit my grandmother once again? It has been months since I have seen the three of them.

A: The two COVID vaccines being administered in the U.S. presently require two injections. The booster is given 2-4 weeks after the initial vaccination.

The best information available indicates it may take two weeks after the second shot for the body to build immunity. The vaccine needs time to provide protection.

Given this timeline, it could take six weeks before it could be safe to visit.

Ideally, visitors should be vaccinated as well.

Restrictions on visitation practices in care facilities may vary significantly from state to state. Anyone in a similar situation should contact the facility directly to ask questions about how they will handle future visits.

We are living in an environment of unknowns. One of the unanswered questions is: Does the vaccine keep people from spreading COVID-19 or does it just keep those who contract it from getting sick?

Vaccines should stop both the infection as well as the transmission and spread. Multiple experts in the field of epidemiology are tirelessly following data gathered to learn more about this pandemic in hopes of offering the best advice to the medical community and the public.

One scientist has stated just because someone has been vaccinated doesn’t mean COVID protocol ends. The Centers for Disease Control does not yet have enough information to change their recommendation about social distancing, wearing face coverings and hand washing.

As a nation, we are strongly advised not to return to our old “normal” and let our guard down.

Social isolation has been hard on everyone. We long for the ability to embrace our loved ones and reconnect with the people who are important to us.

This most likely is not the answer you were hoping for, but likely you would not want to put anyone you care about at risk, especially older, more vulnerable individuals.

The information listed is not ours but from health-care providers who are researching the impact of COVID for the last year.

Are you struggling to care for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at www.ESMV.org. You can also call us at 1-800-892-0890 or email ageinfo@esmv.org. Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore.