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Doctors share advice for safely visiting grandparents after COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 6:17 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The next phase in Kansas’ COVID-19 vaccination plan includes people who are 65 and older. Many in that demographic are grandparents, some of which haven’t seen their grandchildren since the pandemic began 10 months ago.

Among Kansans eager to reunite with their grandparents are two Wichita-area doctors who discussed safety measures with seeing senior relatives. They said you still need to take precautions, even after your loved ones in the 65-and-older group have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Healthcare workers like Dr. Tiffany Schwasinger-Schmidt with the KU School of Medicine in Wichita often come into contact with COVID-19 patients. That’s why she hasn’t seen her grandparents since the pandemic began.

“I know that we’re all missing our grandparents. I know I miss mine,” Dr. Schwasinger-Schmidt said. “But it’s important that we really focus on protecting people. So, when the vaccine becomes available for people over the age of 65, I encourage everyone to get it.”

Clinical studies show that the Pfizer BionTech vaccine is 95 percent effective and that the Moderna vaccine is 94 percent effective if seniors geet fully vaccinated and more than two weeks have passed since they’ve received the second dose. Even then, you need to be careful when visiting them, doctors say.

“Just because you get vaccine doesn’t mean it’s 100 percent protective,” Dr. Schwasinger-Schmidt said. “There’s always the chance that you get still get the virus, even having been vaccinated. It’s low. That’s what we’re seeing in clinical trials, so I don’t want that to deter anybody from getting the vaccine.”

Dr. Amy Seery, a pediatrician with Ascension Via Christi further discussed safely visiting grandparents who are fully vaccinated.

“Masks are not a bad idea,” she said. “We still have a lot of other viruses. There’s a lot of things our grandparents can be susceptible to, so a single vaccine to a single virus may not be enough alone. So just do your part to keep your grandparents as safe as you can.”

The CDC recommends that people get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, continue to wear masks, stay six feet apart, and wash their hands often.

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