• By DeeDee Stiepan

What to know now to plan for a safe Thanksgiving gathering

October 29, 2021
a happy group of family and friends gathering in a kitchen around a turkey dinner for holiday meal

Thanksgiving is traditionally a day of family and friends gathering for food and celebration. It's also one of the busiest travel seasons as people fly and drive to see their loved ones.

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, planning ahead is important to ensure everyone who wants to participate in gatherings is fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Watch: What to know now for a safe Thanksgiving gathering.

Journalists: Broadcast-quality soundbites are available in the downloads at the end of the post. Please courtesy: "Raymund Razonable, M.D./Infectious Diseases/Mayo Clinic.”

"The most important thing is to make sure that everyone is vaccinated. This is really the No. 1 measure we do to limit the spread of this pandemic," says Dr. Raymund Razonable, a Mayo Clinic infectious diseases physician.

He says small, indoor gatherings where everyone in attendance is fully vaccinated should be OK to attend as long as everyone is feeling well. He also recommends anyone eligible receive their third dose or booster vaccination at least two weeks prior to holiday gatherings.

"It's widely available nationwide. If it's been six months since you've gotten the last messenger RNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer), you should get your booster. And if you've been two months out of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you should get the second shot, as well," says Dr. Razonable.

Dr. Razonable does not recommend in-person gatherings with people who are not fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

"It's probably best to just limit the number of interactions with unvaccinated individuals, particularly if there is rampant transmission of COVID in the community," says Dr. Razonable.

Keeping track of COVID-19 cases in local communities is important to help people make an informed decision when planning for the holiday.

"If (virus circulation) is rampant, then minimize gathering, even for the vaccinated individuals. Avoid public places, and if you have to have to go, make sure you wear your mask; have hand sanitizer available, so they can wash your hands right away; and then try to limit the distance to other people, particularly if you don't know their vaccination status," says Dr. Razonable.

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For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a nonpatient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date

For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Learn more about tracking COVID-19 and COVID-19 trends.

Oct. 28, 2021- Mayo Clinic COVID-19 trending map using red color tones for hot spots