Charlotte’s Blog

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Can I Have A Hug?

I doubt there is anyone who does not have something that they have not been able to do during the quarantine, and that they are just dying to do once again.  As for me, I have a whole list, and high on that list is the ability to hug my kids again, and have a family dinner, and …

But I have had my second vaccination, and so has my husband, so I put all the kids on notice that we are having a family gathering this summer, and the only condition is that they will have been vaccinated.  I am following the personal advice of our nation’s top Doc, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who said recently, “My professional judgment is that when my daughter wants to come in here and she’s doubly vaccinated, I’m going to have her over to the house and I’m going to give her a big hug that I haven’t been able to do for a year.”  He noted that this is not backed by hard data, but he says his common sense says it’s okay.

FDA has already given approval or “emergency authorization” to a number of vaccines that are deemed “safe and effective.”  They all have efficacy percentages that range from pretty good to exceptional, from one dose to two doses, etc.  But back to efficacy, the likelihood of contracting COVID once you are vaccinated is as low as small single digits, and the likelihood of hospitalization is even lower, and the likelihood of death is virtually zero.  Multiply any of those small numbers (in percentages) times any other very small number and it gets down to fractions of a percent.  This is where Dr. Fauci is okay with hugs.

It never gets to zero, so someone will eventually get COVID from a presumably asymptomatic person who also had been vaccinated.  It will just take a while. This is what Dr. Fauci is calculating while admitting that they have not done clinical trials of vaccinated people mixing with vaccinated people. Public health officials continue to iron the details of the “new normal” we will be entering like can pregnant women be safely vaccinated, or how about those who wish to become pregnant?  The World Health Organization has shifted its position on this issue just this past January; check it out.

So, if you are looking for zero risk before you hug anyone again, you will not find it.  Make your own decision, but look to science to be an important guide for your decision.

Charlotte Bishop is a Caregiver Coach, an Aging Life Care Advisor, a Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago.  She also is the co-author of How Do I Know You? A Caregiver’s Lifesaver for Dealing with Dementia.

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