COVID-19 vaccinations are key to safely enjoying the 2021 holidays, Dr. Anthony Fauci said during a Monday event hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said specifically that the fully vaccinated should feel comfortable gathering with other vaccinated family and friends in private settings this holiday season, The Hill reported.
“If you get vaccinated and your family’s vaccinated, you can feel good about enjoying a typical Thanksgiving, Christmas with your family and close friends,” he said.
“When you go to indoor congregate settings, go the extra mile, be safe, wear a mask, but when you are with your family at home, goodness, enjoy it with your parents, your children, your grandparents. There’s no reason not to do that,” Fauci added.
Although nearly 69% of Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine - and another 28 million children ages 5 to 11 recently became eligible for the inoculations, average daily COVID-19 cases have increased about 23% since late October to 78,500, ABC News reported, citing U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
According to The Hill, however, nearly 60 million Americans aged 12 and older remain unvaccinated, complicating holiday plans.
Meanwhile, other experts who spoke during the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Monday event echoed Fauci’s sentiments, within reason, ABC News reported.
“Every household is going to have a different way of assessing their own risk and managing their own risk. But I think at this point in the pandemic, we have to recognize that there is no clear-cut, one-size-fits-all answer, that we’re all going to be making decisions that are best for ourselves,” said Dr. Leana Wen, former Baltimore health commissioner and a public health professor at George Washington University.
For instance, Wen said people with children too young to be vaccinated or family members with underlying health conditions may consider taking precautions such as celebrating outdoors, where the risk of transmission is far lower, or having everyone get rapid-tests the day of a gathering, ABC News reported.
Meanwhile, Fauci emphasized that the pandemic is not permanent, The Hill reported.
“This will end. We are not going to be going through this indefinitely,” he said, adding, “How quickly we get to the end depends on us: how well we vaccinate, how well we get boosted and how well we do the kinds of things to protect ourselves.”
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