At the time of writing this article, it appears that Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations are on the decline, but we are still not out of the woods. At least 50 percent of U.S. adults have been fully vaccinated. That leaves a high number of people who are either reluctant or who are adamantly opposed. For a variety of reasons, we are operating in a world where we don’t know who has had the vaccine and who has not. Depending on the situation, there may be a need to know. That, of course, raises questions about when it is appropriate to ask if someone has been vaccinated and how do you ask?
In the workplace
One place where there is less of a dilemma about asking is the workplace. A growing number of employers are requiring that their employees be vaccinated; thus, the need to ask. These places might be independent businesses or governmental ones. If employees do not wish to comply, that’s their choice. In other instances when employers are struggling to find workers, they choose not to ask. Generally, these employers strive to follow as closely as possible all the safety guidelines to protect their customers and staff.
In your own home
If you are having guests in your home, it’s perfectly acceptable to inquire. You might need to know for your own safety or for that of other guests. The decision is yours. You have no way of knowing about vaccination status unless you pose the question.
When to ask
Pose the question before someone arrives at your home. How rude would you be if you waited until people arrived? Then you are putting yourself in the position of un-inviting someone on the spot or asking them to put on a mask. Chances are neither option would have a pleasant outcome.
How to ask
Lead with why you are asking. You may be immunocompromised or have someone in your family or guest list who is. If you are hosting a number of people indoors, you may feel it’s prudent to protect all who are in attendance. You may be fully vaccinated with both shots and the booster but not willing to test the waters of a breakthrough to see if it’s true that you are not likely to get a bad case of the virus or die from it.
When it’s not okay to ask
It’s not okay when you are:
- Simply nosey
- Want to start a debate about “vaxxed vs non-vaxxed”
These are difficult times. People are frightened and edgy. Everybody is somewhat Covid Cranky. We all need to do whatever we can to make people feel comfortable and safe. If there was a time to show kindness, courtesy and respect for others, this is it.