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Are you ready to hug? Schedule your vaccine.

In the U.S., fully vaccinated people can go back to doing things without masks and social distancing in most places, according to a May 16, 2021, CDC announcement.

Can we hug now?

“Yes!” says Jacqueline M. Champlain, MD, Family Medicine at ARC Manor, “As long as both parties are vaccinated, the risk of contracting or spreading COVID is low and is outweighed by the benefits of a hug. "I think the connection between people is very, very important, and I think certainly in vaccinated individuals right now, hugging falls under reasonable risk," says Dr. Champlain in this recent article on Yahoo.

Health benefits of human touch

Research shows hugs can make you happier, reduce fear and anxiety, and lower blood pressure. There's even a study that suggests giving and receiving hugs can strengthen your immune system.

Dr. Champlain said after she got her vaccine in mid-December of last year, she started hugging her patients. She said for some of her older and high-risk patients, "I'm the only person who has touched them now in a year, and that's so sad, and unhealthy."

Don’t forget to ask first

Not everyone is going to be ready to be smothered quite yet, so be sure to ask someone if they are ready to hug again. “Somebody who has a high-risk medical condition, or lives with somebody that's a high risk, or for whatever reason hasn't able to get vaccinated, those are the people we need to think about and be mindful of their feelings and give them the space that they might need," says Dr. Champlain. "I also think that a lot of people still have a lot of anxiety about COVID-19, and while they might want to touch and be touched by other people, they're not quite ready, they're not in that mental space."

Dr. Champlain says that having respect for one another is the most healing gesture we can do after such a tough year — for some people, that might mean giving an enthusiastic elbow bump, and that's perfectly okay.

Get back to hugging. Schedule your COVID-19 vaccine today

If you are ready to schedule your vaccine today, do so online at ARC MyChart.com. New patients to ARC can complete the online registration form to get notified when we have appointment slots and vaccine doses available. You will receive an email with a link to the scheduling page when vaccine is available.

Tags: COVID Vaccine, COVID

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