By Darryl Sellers
This holiday season will be a special time for which we’ve been anxiously waiting to visit parents, grandparents, other family members and friends. During this time, it’s important that we as Black Americans stay vigilant against COVID and ensure we are vaccinated and boosted as we plan our holiday gatherings.
1. Wash your hands. Take 20 seconds – the equivalent of singing the Happy Birthday song twice – to wash your hands before and after you eat and before you prepare foods.
2. Sneeze into your elbow. To help you avoid getting any germs on your hands, sneeze into your elbow. And when you do get germs on your hands, be sure to wash them or use hand sanitizer. Try to keep unwashed hands from touching your face.
3. For gatherings, make sure everyone is fully vaccinated. This is especially crucial when you’re having large gathering indoors.
4. If you have a potluck meal, designate one person to be in charge of serving the food. This is a good practice to avoid everyone handling the same serving utensils.
5. Keep family gatherings on the smaller side, if possible. Consider having people from different households at different ends or sides of each table.
6. Consider masking, except when you’re eating or drinking during your family gathering. It feels a little bit awkward at first. You want to see other people’s faces. But when you’re mixing different households at gatherings, it really cuts down on the risk of infecting others.
7. Wear a mask on public transportation. If you’re traveling for the holidays via public transportation (bus, train or airplane), keep your mask on for the entire time, including when you’re in a bus or train station or in an airport.
By following these tips, you can enjoy safer holidays and travel while protecting your health as well as the health of your family, friends, and loved ones. Please get vaccinated and practice the safety precautions that are proven to be effective.
Currently more than 75% of Americans ages 5 and older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. It’s also recommended that everyone 16+ who is vaccinated should get a COVID-19 booster shot. Here are the guidelines for getting your booster shot:
o Get your booster at least 6 months after your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
o Get your booster at least 2 months after the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Getting a booster shot and following these best practices will help you have happy and healthy gatherings during the holiday season and beyond.
For more information about booster shots, please visit CDC – Booster shots.
To find out more about the schedule for the upcoming Cobb Institute/NMA Stay Well Health Fair events, visit Stay Well Community Health Fairs.
To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, visit https://www.vaccines.gov/.
Please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn more about safe ways to celebrate the holidays and minimize your COVID-19 risk.