How to stay COVID safe this holiday season

The holiday season is nearly upon us, the time of year for family, friends, food – and COVID-19.

Yes, unfortunately, the COVID pandemic has managed to hang around for another holiday season. But this year, thanks to the development of the COVID vaccine, the virus is on shakier ground than it was last year. That alone should make for happier holidays this time around.

“It’s so important for the mental health and happiness of our community members that they’re able to visit loved ones, friends and family this time of year,” said Katie Sheeler, senior clinical manager for Moda. “We just have to make sure everyone is as safe as possible.”

The most important first step, Sheeler said, is getting vaccinated. COVID vaccines have become readily available for adults and teenagers from doctors and pharmacists, and they’re free. What’s more, on Nov. 2, the Centers for Disease Control approved the vaccine for use in children ages 5-11.  

“I think that’s especially good news not only as we try and keep our schools open, but as we approach the holiday season,” Sheeler said.

Beyond getting vaccinated, Sheeler offered these other tips for staying safe this holiday season:

  • If you’re traveling, it’s still best to avoid large crowds of people indoors.
  • If you are with people who aren’t vaccinated or if you’re unsure of their vaccination status, be sure to social distance and wear a mask.
  • Continue to wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer.
  • Pick up a COVID-19 test or two to have available just in case. If you feel sick, test yourself and isolate until your results come back.
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