How to ask guests if they are vaccinated against COVID-19 – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic
You are preparing invitations for a big party. The traditional RSVP request will be included, of course, but you might be thinking about asking your guests for more than if they plan to attend.
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You may want to know if they have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Is this a good question? And what’s the proper etiquette to tell Uncle Joe or your best friend that they’re not welcome in your home if they haven’t been injected with COVID-19?
It’s a discussion that could explode into a bomb of emotional anger. Psychologist Chivonna Childs, PhD, has some tips to defuse the situation.
Don’t judge someone’s vaccination decision
People are free to make their own choices. You made your own regarding the COVID-19 vaccination. Someone else, however, may take a different approach… and that’s their right, says Dr. Childs.
“At the end of the day, we take our own path,” says Dr. Childs. “People don’t want to be judged on their choices.
You have the right to set the ground rules for your own event, but don’t be silly about it. “Think about how you say something,” says Dr. Childs. “Use your words with kindness and respect. Be a human being.
You might receive questions about why you decided to require a vaccination to mark a party hat. If you want to have that conversation, Dr. Childs suggests offering your perspective without questioning someone else’s choice.
For example, share your concerns about the potential exposure of at-risk relatives to COVID-19 or the growth of emerging variants of the coronavirus.
“Tell your story and explain why it is important to you,” says Dr. Childs. “Don’t use it as an opportunity to tell someone why they’re wrong. There is no reason to become the lord of vaccination.
Support your request
Before 2020, the idea of finding out about a person’s immunization status seems unimaginable. It may seem strange to make an invitation to a party conditional on one person’s handling of that health care decision.
But know that you are not the only one asking yourself the question. Online invitation companies report that many party planners are asking guests for vaccination information or proof of a negative COVID-19 test as part of the invitation process.
“As the person who organizes the party, you get to choose,” says Dr. Childs. “It’s the power you have. Make the rules and stick to them.
Looking for ideas on how to safely celebrate? Find out what an infectious disease expert recommends for a wedding or graduation party. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also tips for organizing large gatherings.
CDC Tips says fully vaccinated people can resume their activities without wearing a mask or practicing social distancing, except in certain – and very specific – circumstances.
You are considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after receiving a single dose coronavirus vaccine (Johnson & Johnson) or the second dose in a series of two dose vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna).
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) advise that even those vaccinated should continue to wear masks and practice social distancing given the continued global spread of the virus.
CDC Tips for Unvaccinated People
Recommendations for those who have not received a vaccine, do not exactly shout “It’s time to party”. If you are not vaccinated you are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and you are advised to:
- Wear a mask in indoor public places.
- Stay 6 feet from others.
- Avoid crowds like those found in restaurants and bars.
How to deal with hurt feelings for uninvited guests
Will everyone happily accept your question about vaccination and potentially be barred from attending the party? Probably not… and some may be vocal enough to express their displeasure.
A few may even threaten to sever their relationship with you: If I can’t come to the wedding because of some stupid blow, it’s over!
Breathe deeply, says Dr. Childs, and be assertive but not aggressive in your response. Emphasize that the situation involving COVID-19 is temporary (we hope) and that you look forward to seeing them in the future.
There is no reason to argue. You’re planning a party, you’re not getting ready to try for the debate team.
Finally, remember this quick tip if someone rejects their invitation: “’No’ is a complete answer,” says Dr. Childs. “You don’t have to say more and you don’t have to defend it.”
Plus, you have a party to enjoy.