Illustration for article titled If It's Okay To Ask Someone If They Are Vaccinated (and How To Do It)Photo: Yaw Niel (Shutterstock)

Although COVID-19 infection rates and hospital stays are declining across the country, some gray areas and potential dangers remain: 50 percent of adults in the United States were fully vaccinatedThis is a remarkable achievement and a sign of normality ahead, but a high proportion of Adults remain hesitant or downright against vaccination. The lingering possibility of infection remains strong for those who have not received their thrusts.

However you slice it, there are quite a few gray areas when it comes to when to wear masks, whether under the guidelines of the CDC or the guidelines of independent companies. For example, I continue to mask in every bodega or gas station I enter, although technically I don’t have to, according to both the CDC and the rules of my local bodega. For me, it’s about making others feel safe, especially since no one has any idea if I’m vaccinated (outside of a government-issued hypothetical vaccination record).

As the pandemic continues to wane, you may be with an exposed person curious to see if they’ve been vaccinated or if they’re just less concerned about safety than you. Here’s how you might find it appropriate to ask about someone’s vaccination status and when going that deep into someone else’s personal territory is definitely not a good idea.

How can you ask someone if they have been vaccinated?

If it’s your home then it definitely is

The first time someone comes to your home since the world was knocked off the beaten track by COVID, you should be comfortable asking about their vaccination status. It is your personal realm, after all, and if you do something inside exposed, it only makes sense that you inquire about it.

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When you take care of someone who is immunocompromised

If you are on the lookout for someone who, despite being vaccinated, is still technically at risk, then be sure to find out about someone else’s vaccination status. For example, if you’re entertaining guests at a bowling alley and your grandma is going to be there, you may want to ask if guests have been vaccinated. Likewise if you have unvaccinated children.

Run with your own vaccination status

Whether or not people have been vaccinated is a question for many people – not just you. A great way to get a straight answer from someone is to first determine that you are fully vaccinated or between doses. Sharing your own status first shows that you understand that it is your job to protect yourself, and it is also less confrontational than blurting out, “Are you vaccinated?” to someone you aren’t really that close with.

Let’s say you are in an outdoor gathering and you want to evaluate how people feel about taking it indoors. If you mention to a group that you are fully vaccinated, other people are likely to follow suit.

It’s definitely not okay to ask why someone is still wearing a mask

While we are slowly getting out of the pandemic and masks are generally optional for those who are fully vaccinated, try to understand why some people continue to wear them. For one, the immunocompromised people could continue to wear masks for the foreseeable future, largely because the U.S. is unlikely to achieve herd immunity and highly contagious variants continue to cause the majority of infections.

Building on this, there are many variables at play that you cannot really decipher without knowing a person’s situation. Someone might still insist on masking for having unvaccinated children at home. You may have a psychological aversion to mask removal; Some people enjoyed that Anonymity granted to them by covering their facesMany of them are women who enjoy not being asked to smile more often.

We have moved from masking as a means of protecting others to masking as a means of protecting ourselves, and there is nothing wrong with that. This is just an indication that despite receiving their vaccines, some people continue to wear masks despite having personal vaccinations or preferences.