For many families hosting festive gatherings with elderly relatives this season, an elephant lurks in the room: the vaccination status of family and friends who have been invited, particularly as the new omicron variant begins to spread around the country.
A recent poll found that nearly 1 in 5 (19%) people still say they don’t intend on getting vaccinated, which may result in those who are vaccinated hesitating to mingle with those who aren’t. But if you’ve already sent out invites to loved ones asking them to join in the family gathering, when is an appropriate time to ask about their vaccination status? Is it better to recall these invites sooner rather than later?
Duffy & Duffy, a New York-based medical malpractice law firm, commissioned a survey of 3,758 respondents to deduce people’s opinions about having unvaccinated family members around their elderly relatives this upcoming holiday season. It was discovered that almost two-thirds (64%) of Maryland households said they will consider not inviting unvaccinated guests to their family get-togethers this festive season to protect the elderly.
The holidays can be a difficult time for those with elderly relatives in care or nursing homes. For some, it’s difficult to arrange travel for the elderly, especially if they’re in a fragile state and require “round-the-clock care.” For others, there could be health risks and complications associated with their parents/grandparents leaving their care facility. And for those with elderly relatives in nursing homes or care facilities, 44% said they have concerns about unvaccinated home employees returning to work after the holidays, after being out, and about celebrating (particularly during New Year’s celebrations).
This is indeed a valid concern as earlier in the year, nearly one-fifth of U.S. coronavirus deaths were linked to nursing facilities. In fact, the survey found that nearly 3 in 4 (74%) respondents believe that nursing homes should require negative tests for all residents returning over holiday activities.
Moreover, 77% of people questioned in the survey believe nursing homes should require all staff to be fully vaccinated.
“Although the festive period is typically one in which extended families including elderly relatives 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—particularly as covid cases surge once again across the country,” says a spokesperson for Duffy & Duffy.