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Can my kids safely hug their grandparents now that they've had the COVID-19 vaccine?

Corinn Cross, MD, FAAP


When will it be safe for my kids to hug their grandparents once they get the COVID-19 vaccine?

​​​​If your children's grand​parents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for at least two weeks, then it is probably safe to let the hugs begin!

Many families have been keeping a safe distance from vulnerable family members such as grandparents since the pandemic began. With more people becoming fully vaccinated, we are starting to be able to get back to in person-visits, complete with long overdue hugs and cuddles. The COVID-19 vaccines are amazingly effective at preventing severe COVID-19 infections – those that lead to hospitalization and death. Although vaccinated people may still be able to get COVID, the symptoms they experience will ​​be more like a mild cold.

A relatively low risk, now ​​lower

COVID-19 vaccines are not yet approved for anyone under age 5. However, the likelihood of a child, who seems well, actually having COVID and then passing it to an adult has always been relatively low. Now, with more people able to be fully vaccinated, there is less risk of severe illness from COVID even if they were to be exposed.

However, we should also remember that while the risk of giving grandparents COVID has decreased, there are other illnesses out there that we can still pass to one another. Washing hands and staying home when we aren't feeling 100% are good rules to continue to follow. If you or your child are coughing or have cold-like symptoms, or have had a fever, vomiting or diarrhea in the past 24 hours, it is best if you stay home until you have been symptom free for a day before visiting friends or family.

​Remember to wait two weeks & take precautions

  • Vaccines take time to work. You are considered fully vaccinated 2 WEEKS after your last dose.

  • ​​​Fully vaccinated means 2 doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or 1 dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

  • Good hand hygiene is alwa​​ys a good idea.

  • Stay home while you are sick.

  • If you have had a known COVID-19 exposure, you still need to follow the guideline of your local health department. 

  • Consider additional precautions if gathering with a big group of people from multiple households. ​​​​​​

Being physically separated from grandparents has during the pandemic has been tough for many families. In addition to providing a source of unconditional love and support, many grandparents play a vital role in helping parents care for children.

So, can you give a hug?

As long as you are healthy and your grandparent or loved one is fully vaccinated then, yes—a great big hug is just what the doctor ordered!

More information

Corinn Cross, MD, FAAP

Corinn Cross, MD, FAAP, is an American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) spokesperson, an active member the academy's Council on Communications and Media, a Member-At-Large of her local California AAP Chapter-2 and a pediatrician at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

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The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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