The conversation is different this year. In 2020, experts were telling us to skip Thanksgiving family gatherings. Currently, medical leaders are stressing the importance of vaccination for all eligible people. If everyone in your group of Thanksgiving family or friends is fully vaccinated, you can enjoy a somewhat normal gathering.
Somewhat normal. Here’s a look at what that means.
Get vaccinated, say the experts
It’s all about timing. You’re quickly running out of time—if you haven’t already—to be vaccinated with an mRNA vaccine and be fully protected by Thanksgiving. Most medical experts look at this step as the prerequisite for sharing a turkey dinner.
Boosters are now readily available, to those who are older or immunocompromised. If you’re unsure, consider following COVID-19 vaccine booster guidelines offered by the CDC. And what about the kids? The Food and Drug Administration will review data from Pfizer-BioNTech about their version of the vaccine for children aged 5 through 11 by the end of October. If approved vaccines for this could be available in early November. Children would not be fully vaccinated by Thanksgiving, but expert medical opinion is that even the first of two doses could make a difference.
New approaches to old traditions
There are a few things we learned from practicing social distancing that can help us even after we turn this chapter on COVID-19. Among them is the practical side of ventilation and distance. According to Dr. Krystal Pollitt, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health moving your Thanksgiving feast outside is optimal. Otherwise, she says, “Make sure that if you are indoors, pay attention to ventilation within those spaces. Trying to open windows or put air cleaners in the space to enhance air exchange would also be beneficial.”
Travel has always been a traditional part of Thanksgiving, and the holidays which follow. There are generally fewer warnings against traveling this year. Don’t think that it’s back to the way you remember it. Nearly all airlines and most forms of public transportation have mask mandates. Are you planning a holiday trip abroad? Or, even thinking about having your Thanksgiving gathering at a restaurant? Be prepared in both cases to show proof of vaccination.
Dr. Pia MacDonald is Senior Director of Applied Public Health Research at the Research Triangle Institute. “We’re at a pretty complicated juncture,” she says, referring to what will happen next in terms of this upcoming holiday season. “It’s well worth families and groups thinking very carefully about how they’ll handle these times.” Dr. MacDonald believes that we’ll see new traditions—or at least revised traditions—pop up as a result of the global pandemic. “Let’s get to a new normal where we reimagine Thanksgiving and it’s not 50 people,” she says. “Celebrate that togetherness and not what we had five years ago. The vaccine is a huge gift. There is a lot to be thankful for.”
Our contribution to your Thanksgiving
One way we can help is with our vaccine record card and travel document holders. We’re already known for our flexibility when it comes to order sizes. We can provide these for your employees, your customers, or even just for yourself.
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