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Your Healthy Family: Asking other parents about vaccination status

Posted at 9:18 AM, Sep 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-20 09:18:00-04

Planning a play date for your kids during this pandemic can be tough; you want them to have a "normal" fun experience, but you also want them to be safe. So how do you talk to other parents about if they or their loved ones are vaccinated?

Since Southwest Florida started seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases, Fox 4 has heard from parents who are concerned about their kids. Some parents have even kept their kids home from school this semester.

If you're a parent concerned about the virus, you may want to know before sending your kid to a friend's house if their parents, siblings, or close family members are vaccinated. But is it OK to ask?

"I think most of the time, a conversation resolves a lot. Keeping things mysterious and unknown and everybody wondering, ‘Should I, shouldn’t I, is it okay, is it not okay?’ increases anxiety for all of us," Dr. Vanessa Jensen, a Pediatric Psychologist for Cleveland Clinic Children's said.

She said if you're worried about having your kid around someone who isn't vaccinated, there's nothing wrong with just asking. But it's about how you ask. If you find out your child's friend, or his or her family members aren't vaccinated, do not lecture them.

“We want to try to help model for our kids – we don’t want to judge people for taking different positions on this one. I know some people are very intense, they have very strong opinions. I guess I don’t feel like putting kids in that position is going to be helpful," Dr. Jensen said.

Instead, she said to politely suggest getting your kids together outside. If you have a reason why you're concerned, like an elderly relative, share it. Be mindful of how you're explaining to your kids why they can't go to a friend's house and keep it simple.

Dr. Jensen also said to remember the decision on whether or not to get vaccinated is a personal one.