CLEVELAND – Now that the COVID-19 vaccine is available to adults and children five and older, many families may be wondering if it’s safe to travel for Thanksgiving this year.
“Luckily, when it comes to travel, I think the tips really haven’t changed throughout the pandemic,” said Joseph Khabbaza, MD, pulmonologist for Cleveland Clinic. “We know that the risks are lower now with a bigger chunk of the population vaccinated. So any kind of travel will do and is safer than it was a year ago.”
Dr. Khabbaza said even though traveling is safer now, it’s still important to get vaccinated if you haven’t already. That’s going to be your best form of protection from the virus.
If you’re nervous about flying with your family, you could opt to drive instead, which can help reduce the risk for transmission.
When it comes to other safety measures, Dr. Khabbaza said make sure to wear a mask in crowded spaces, social distance when possible and regularly wash your hands.
As for toddlers, he said parents should be cautious about who they’re around.
“The risks overall are very low to them, but the biggest risk for a toddler getting COVID-19 is actually their parents and grandparents, the people they are going to be with the most,” said Dr. Khabbaza. “So that’s something family members and extended family members should consider for holiday gatherings.”
Dr. Khabbaza said deciding whether to travel really comes down to your own personal risk tolerance. If going somewhere makes you feel uneasy, it’s probably best to just stay home.