CHARLOTTE, N.C. — So many of us haven't hugged our grandparents or maybe even seen them in over a year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Most of the elderly have spent the last year in isolation trying to avoid catching COVID-19. But are those efforts changing now that many have been vaccinated?
"If they're both vaccinated and you go visit them and you're feeling well and hopefully have been generally socially distancing and staying safe, the chance that they would become ill from that visit is very low. I can't tell you it's zero," Dr. Helen Jacoby an infectious disease expert at St. Joseph's Hospital said.
Jacoby said, on average, the vaccine is 95% effective at preventing serious COVID-19 infection.
The biggest thing to remember though is that your grandparents must have received both doses and be two weeks out from the second shot.
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"it's important to take into account the person's immune status," Jacoby said. "If grandma and grandpas have a transplant or are undergoing chemotherapy for cancer or something, the vaccine might not work as well as it would in most people."
She said it is safer to see them if you're vaccinated as well but again, the chance still isn't zero.
As for masking during your visit? Jacoby said you don't necessarily need to if you're someone who stays socially distant and wears a mask most of the time.
So we asked the question – can you hug them?
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"Oh yeah, if you're seeing them without a mask you can hug them, absolutely," Jacoby said.
And Jacoby is practicing what she preaches.
"My mother is in Florida and she's getting her vaccine and I am making plans to go visit her," she said.