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Community Manager
Community Manager

If a Nursing Home Resident Gets a COVID Shot, Can Their Families Visit Them Now?

I have been thinking about this. My assumption is that it is safer, but that you should proceed with caution. What is the right way to go about this?

AARP Expert

This is such a good question and I'm hearing discussion of this from many family caregivers - and from people who will receive the vaccine wondering what it is safe to do.  gave some good advice! Always check with the facility where your loved one lives as they will be setting guidelines. Regardless, from what I've learned from the experts, no vaccine is 100% so it's best to continue safety precautions in terms of wearing a mask, washing hands and using hand sanitizer, and practicing social distancing (or physical distancing really!). 


This is an excerpt from an article on, "What to Know about the Coronavirus Vaccines":


 "Can I still get COVID-19 after getting the vaccine?


It’s unclear whether someone who’s been vaccinated can still become sick with COVID-19 and how long immunity will last, although more details on the vaccine’s effectiveness should emerge in post-trial surveillance.


“That’s something that the recipients will have to understand when they get the vaccine,” says William Schaffner, M.D., an infectious disease specialist and professor of preventive medicine at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “The vaccine provides protection, but it won’t be like a suit of armor.”


Schaffner’s main message: Just because you roll up your sleeve and get the shot doesn’t mean you can throw away your mask and disregard other prevention efforts such as social distancing and handwashing. Those will be crucial “for quite some time” in order to get control over the virus, Schaffner says."


This article is also very helpful! "7 Myths about Coronavirus Vaccines" - it emphasizes that it's not time to throw away the mask once you get the vaccine! 


Another thing to remember is that experts believe you may still be able to transmit the virus to another person, even if you don't get sick from it, because you've had the vaccine. 


We are all anxious to be able to visit with loved ones and the vaccine will make it much more safe and possible to do so! BUT - be sure to continue to practice safety precautions at the same time, and discuss with yours and your loved ones' doctors! 


Take care,

Amy Goyer, AARP Family & Caregiving Expert

Author, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving

AARP Expert

There is a two week 'wait' for efficacy for each shot. At the facility in our hospital (where I work as a social worker), masks are still required, everywhere by everyone all the time. As for in person visits, I believe each county Public Health Department has orders that come down from the state. So, best to ask the administrator of each nursing home. For example, at ours, here in rural Oregon, one staff person tested positive and is now at home in quarantine and the whole place went back into lockdown.  Between Public Health and the nursing home itself, they will guide you. And it might change from day to day. Sorry about this!


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