Unvaccinated relatives? Here are the risks around the Thanksgiving table

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As Canadians decide what to put on the table this Thanksgiving, many are also faced with a different, more difficult decision: whether to invite family members to feast with them.

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With Thanksgiving weekend just a few days away, experts say not inviting your unrelated relatives is the safer, smarter and more ethical choice — especially when the kids can’t get the COVID-19 jab.

“Vaccines are really effective, but they’re most effective when you’re surrounded by vaccinated people,” said Dr. Matthew Miller, assistant dean in McMaster University’s Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences.


“If you introduce a non-vaccinated person who may be infected to that group, everyone’s risk of successful infection increases.”

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While success cases among immunizations are rare, they do occur.

until 18 septemberOntario alone, said the province has reported just over 8,200 cases out of more than 1000,000 fully vaccinated residents.

According to Verdit Ravitsky, a bioethicist who teaches at the Université de Montréal and Harvard’s medical school, having awkward conversations with your unvaccinated relative or friend is actually the most ethical thing you can do.

“It’s absolutely fair, beyond reasonable. I think it’s completely ethical,” Ravitsky said. “I think the people who should worry about the ethical aspects of their decisions are those who choose not to vaccinate.”

At this point, she said, those who are able to get vaccinated but don’t want to do so aren’t doing the equivalent of driving without a seatbelt — they’re driving drunk.

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“Not being vaccinated is like driving drunk. You are really putting others at risk,” Ravitsky said.

“And so I think that in this very sensitive context of families and friends, part of our moral responsibility is still to educate, advocate for vaccination and try to convince our relatives and friends to do the right thing. “

Research shows that the best way to interact with vaccine-hesitant Canadians is to do so with “respect and empathy,” according to Ravitsky. That said, it is important not to laugh at them, and not to dismiss their concerns.

“Come from a place of empathy. Say things like, ‘I understand you’re feeling under pressure. I understand you’re feeling threatened.’ Usually, our human rights and freedoms are the main considerations in our society, but we are living in a special time,” she said.

“This is all temporary. We will get out of this. But for your freedom to choose what else to do to get out of it and come back with respect for human rights, we need vaccines.”

If the conversation turns bad and you’re feeling guilty for removing a relative from this year’s invite list, Ravitsky says you should cut yourself a little slack.

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“People who are grappling with the fact that we can’t invite the people we normally invite, we shouldn’t bear this burden of guilt,” she said. “It is those who have not been vaccinated who must bear this burden.”

No vaccine is 100 percent effective, Miller said. When people get vaccinated they can have different immune responses, resulting in slightly different degrees of protection – which is why some immunocompromised Canadians have received a third shot.

“It’s like wearing a bulletproof vest, isn’t it? Just because you’re wearing that vest doesn’t mean you want to get shot, and there are places the vest doesn’t cover where you can still get hurt.” Maybe,” Miller said.

“Vaccines are similar. They’re really good protection, but they’re not perfect protection, and we know that.”

Taking a “weapon” is the best way to keep people safe, Miller said, and in this case, that weapon is the coronavirus.

Because children may not yet be vaccinated, that responsibility falls on adults, Miller said.

“The best way to keep children safe is to make sure the adults around them are vaccinated.”

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Any increase in cases this year, Miller said, “is likely to affect children the most”.

“This not only has health implications, of course, directly for children, but also has problematic implications for the ability of schools to remain open and operate safely,” he said.

A significant number of COVID-19 cases across Canada as of October 1 more than 20 percent – were among those under the age of 19. Furthermore, just days after schools opened in September, the COVID-19 outbreak forced many of them to reopen across the country.

According to infectious disease expert Dr. Alexander Wong, many different considerations come into play when deciding who should sit around the Thanksgiving table.

“If you’re in a delta hot spot … especially Alberta, Saskatchewan, southern Manitoba and other parts of the country, which are on the rise — the Northwest region for example — then honestly, there’s a lot of gathering at this point.” There is no point in the group,” Wong said.

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“I will try to do the best I can to keep your bubble as tight as possible and, to the best of my ability, try to keep your bubble consisting of fully vaccinated individuals.”

Miller said Canadians can take other steps to make their dinners safer, including opening windows, keeping their gatherings small or even eating outside. Getting family members tested for COVID-19 can also add another layer of protection.

“When you add all those layers together, well, the virus is more likely to run into a barrier,” he said.

But before sitting down to dinner, Miller says Canadians should take this weird, added…

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