COVID vaccines are starting to roll out to nursing homes across the country, signaling the beginning of the end of the pandemic. Once your loved one has had both doses of the vaccine, you may be able to visit, but precautions are still necessary.
The federal government entered into a partnership with CVS and Walgreens to deliver the vaccines to nursing home residents, who have a high priority for being vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. The pharmacy companies began administering vaccines in 12 states in mid-December and will expand to 36 states before the year's end. Both the Pfizer the Moderna vaccines require two shots three or four weeks apart.
Restrictions on nursing home visitors vary from state to state, with some states limiting them and others allowing more visitation. Currently, the CDC recommends that nursing homes allow indoor visitors if the facility has had no COVID cases for 14 days. Once vaccines have been distributed, restrictions may ease further.
According to the New York Times, experts recommend that to be safe, you should wait until two weeks after your loved one gets the second dose of the vaccine before visiting. The safest time to visit would be after all the residents and staff have been vaccinated and you receive the vaccine as well. Even if you and your loved one are vaccinated, you should still wear a mask when visiting. As long as COVID is spreading in the community, mask-wearing is still recommended.
It should be noted, however, that the vast majority of older adults with chronic conditions live at home. Since these vulnerable adults are at high risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19, they should also be vaccinated as soon as possible, along with their caregivers.