Deadline for being fully vaccinated by Thanksgiving draws closer

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INDIANAPOLIS — Time is running out to get fully vaccinated by Thanksgiving.

Today marks six weeks out before Thanksgiving, which is enough time to get two doses, four weeks apart, then wait the two weeks after your final dose to be considered “fully vaccinated.” Obviously, this varies if you get Moderna (which has a three-week wait between doses), or Johnson & Johnson (which is just one dose).

Doctors urged Hoosiers to jump on the opportunity, but they stressed that even if you miss the window, one dose will always be better than no doses at all.

“We’ve also had a lot more people that are no longer bothering with masks and social distancing and we’ve got a variant that’s just not the same virus that was there last year. This variant is just really really aggressive,” said Dr. Paul Calkins, an associate chief medical executive for IU Health. “You know pandemic fatigue – I’m as fatigued as everybody else.”

Right now, COVID-19 infection rates are trending downward, but so are first doses of vaccines. There was a slight uptick in vaccinations when the delta variant emerged, but that has since gone back down. Doctors say now is not the time to let your guard down, as IU Health is still dealing with heavy loads of COVID-19 hospitalizations, 88 percent of what they saw in winter 2020 to be specific.

“I don’t think anybody was really expecting that it would nearly overwhelm us again. So that would suggest that we’re really not where we need to be,” Calkins said.

Dr. Shaun Grannis, vice president of data and analytics of Regenstrief Institute, mentioned a few recommendations for celebrating safely this year:

  • Keep gatherings small, but it doesn’t have to be as strict as last year.
  • If inviting guests from other households, make sure they’re vaccinated.
  • Avoid inviting guests who are high risk and unvaccinated.
  • If you are high risk but vaccinated, make sure to get your booster shot before attending.

Right now, doctors said it’s too soon to tell what impact Thanksgiving gatherings will have on the infection rate. Typically they will know two weeks after the holidays.

Thanksgiving is also six weeks out, so cases could change by then. For now, doctors think numbers will be relatively low through Thanksgiving, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

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