COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — As more people get vaccinated against COVID-19, some may be wondering whether asking about vaccination status is bad form.
The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance loosened mask-wearing recommendations for fully vaccinated Americans, allowing them to safely gather unmasked indoors with one another. Fully vaccinated people can also go maskless outdoors as long as they’re not in a crowd.
But is it appropriate to ask others whether they are vaccinated?
OhioHealth’s medical director of infectious diseases Dr. Joseph Gastaldo says yes.
“This is how I look at it: If you have a weakened immune system or you have a loved one with a weakened immune system, you have to advocate for their safety,” Gastaldo said. “Nobody is going to be a better advocate than themselves or someone in their family or a loved one.”
He added, “You have a responsibility to advocate for vulnerable individuals.”
The Washington Post laid out some etiquette guidelines that included how to politely ask someone if they’ve been vaccinated.
Steven Petrow, a journalist and contributing columnist to The Post, said, “It’s about we and not me.”
He told The Post that if the reason behind your question is personal health, it’s OK to ask whether someone is vaccinated if you will be spending time with them in person. However, he said, considering that a person’s health status is personal and generally private, he advised against asking merely out of curiosity.
Moreover, be aware that full vaccination doesn’t equal 100% safety against the virus. The CDC says vaccinated people still need to practice caution and continue most COVID-19 safety practices, including washing hands and wearing a mask in public.
Nationwide, 44% of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and nearly 32% have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.