ALAN CLARK.JPG

At my age, grandchildren are a major factor in our lives.  I always heard what people said about loving grandchildren when you became a grandparent, and what a great experience it is. So, let me validate that – it is.

If you are someone who is too young to relate to this, you may want to skip this column, but just remember you, too, will probably be old enough to have grandchildren one day.

The difficulty over the last year with this grandparent-grandchild relationship has been the effect the pandemic has had on it, like everything else in the world has been affected. Not only has there been a lockdown of sorts on visits with grandchildren, but some families have not seen each other for 365 days. Fear does awesome things to our psyche.

Enter the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, commonly referred to as “the CDC.”

The latest guidance from our CDC friends in Atlanta means fully vaccinated people can visit grandchildren, friends, and more. For those of you considered fully vaccinated, you may now be able to hug your grandchildren in person.

Under this guideline, people are considered fully vaccinated after two weeks of getting their last COVID-19 vaccine if using Pfizer or Moderna, or two weeks after their one shot of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. That means fully vaccinated people can visit unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.

“Visits or small gatherings likely represent minimal risk to fully vaccinated people,” says the announcement. “Medium or large-sized gatherings and those including unvaccinated people from multiple households increase the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Though the risk of disease may be minimal to the fully vaccinated person themselves, they should be mindful of their potential risk of transmitting the virus to others if they become infected, especially if they are visiting with unvaccinated people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or who have unvaccinated people at increased risk for severe disease in their own households. Fully vaccinated people should not visit or attend a gathering if they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the prior 10 days or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of vaccination status of the other people at the gathering.”

As always, there is a caveat to all this.  If visiting grandchildren involves long distance travel by air, you had best re-consider the idea, because travel recommendations by the CDC have not changed.

Some of us in a “family bubble” have been seeing grandchildren all along by following the protocols issued by the CDC and others, although it has not been “normal” in any sense of the word. At best, lots of planning and preparation is involved, and it’s not like jumping in the family vehicle and heading off hi-dee-ho at a moment’s notice. Whether that ever becomes the norm again is subject to debate.

For the time being, it is best to pay attention to guidance and warnings from the CDC, see your grands as often as it is practical, and keep that family connection as strong as possible, because that’s the way it oughta be.

Alan Clark’s columns are also available as podcasts on Apple Music and on his website at aclarkvoice.com.