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Can my kids safely hug their grandparents now that they've had the COVID-19 vaccine?

Corinn Cross, MD, FAAP


When will it be safe for my kids to hug their grandparents once they get the COVID-19 vaccine?

​​​​If your children's grand​parents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for at least two weeks, then it is probably safe to let the hugs begin!

Many families have been keeping a safe distance from vulnerable family members such as grandparents since the pandemic began. With more people becoming fully vaccinated, we are starting to be able to get back to in person-visits, complete with long overdue hugs and cuddles. The COVID-19 vaccines are amazingly effective at preventing severe COVID-19 infections – those that lead to hospitalization and death. Although vaccinated people may still be able to get COVID, the symptoms they experience will be more like a mild cold.

A relatively low risk, now ​​lower

COVID-19 vaccines are not yet approved for anyone under age 12. However, the likelihood of a child, who seems well, actually having COVID and then passing it to an adult has always been relatively low. Now, with those adults being fully vaccinated, there is relatively no risk of those adults becoming severely ill with COVID even if they were to be exposed.

However, we should also remember that while the risk of giving grandparents COVID has decreased, there are other illnesses out there that we can still pass to one another. Washing hands and staying home when we aren't feeling 100% are good rules to continue to follow. If you or your child are coughing or have cold-like symptoms, or have had a fever, vomiting or diarrhea in the past 24 hours, it is best if you stay home until you have been symptom free for a day before visiting friends or family.

​Remember to wait two weeks, and take common sense precautions

  • Vaccines take time to work. You are considered fully vaccinated 2 WEEKS after your last dose.

  • ​​​Fully vaccinated means 2 doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or 1 dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

  • Good hand hygiene is alwa​​ys a good idea.

  • Stay home while you are sick.

  • If you have had a known COVID-19 exposure, you still need to follow the guideline of your local health department. 

  • A big family reunion may be tempting, but try to stick with small gatherings until all adult family members have been vaccinated. ​​​​​​

Being physically separated from grandparents has during the pandemic has been tough for many families. In addition to providing an additional source of unconditional love and support for children, many grandparents play a vital role in helping parents care for them.

So, can you give a mask-free hug?

As long as you are healthy and your grandparent or loved one is fully vaccinated then, yes—a great big mask-free hug is just what the doctor ordered!

More information

Corinn Cross, MD, FAAP

Corinn Cross, MD, FAAP, is an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) spokesperson, an active member the academy's Council on Communications and Media, a Member-At-Large of her local California AAP Chapter-2 and a pediatrician at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

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The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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