CDC must clarify guidance for those vaccinated to return to normal life

U.S. Senator James Lankford

Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today sent a letter to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requesting guidance for how people, particularly seniors, can reengage with their families and communities after they have received the vaccine. Lankford noted in his letter the specific isolation senior adults have endured over the last year since the start of the pandemic, and how they need clear direction on how to balance preventative measures while getting back to normal life.
Lankford wrote in the letter, “as you are well aware, seniors in long-term living situations such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the country are rightfully first on the list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. While vaccine rollout is still underway, over one million Americans are currently being vaccinated daily. Our nation will soon reach a point where long-term care facility residents and other senior adults have completed the COVID-19 vaccine two-dose regimen. We urge the CDC to proactively prepare for this point by issuing guidance on isolation and family gatherings after the vaccine has been administered.”
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Lankford has worked to provide oversight of existing COVID-19 relief programs on behalf of Oklahomans. Lankford has also worked to ensure factual information about the development and distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine is available to Oklahomans.  In December, he supported COVID relief that provided nearly $20 billion for vaccine development.
Read the full letter here or below.
Director Walensky,
I am writing on behalf of many of my constituents to encourage you to swiftly issue guidance for Americans who have received the full dosage required of the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine. The COVID-19 pandemic has been a trying time, especially for isolated senior adults.  The federal government should be proactive in the provision of clear guidelines on next-steps for their continued safety and wellbeing after all available preventative measures are in place.
From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew senior adults and those with certain immunosuppressive conditions are at a greater risk for COVID-19 infection and possible complications. Therefore, millions of senior Americans have been isolated in their homes or in long-term care facilities to shield themselves from possible infection outside their doors. Additionally, thousands have unfortunately passed away alone with no family members around. While it is certainly important to protect our nation’s most vulnerable from a potentially deadly disease, with vaccines now available, it is crucial that seniors’ physical, mental, and spiritual health all be taken into consideration and that steps be taken so that they can physically engage with their loved ones.
As you are well aware, seniors in long-term living situations such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities across the country are rightfully first on the list to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. While vaccine rollout is still underway, over one million Americans are currently being vaccinated daily. Our nation will soon reach a point where long-term care facility residents and other senior adults have completed the COVID-19 vaccine two-dose regimen. We urge the CDC to proactively prepare for this point by issuing guidance on isolation and family gatherings after the vaccine has been administered.
The completion of a vaccine regimen has been the light at the end of a long, dark tunnel for many Americans. Many seniors are crossing the finish line of their race toward vaccination. They believed, right or wrong, that this accomplishment would open doors to safely gather with family members and return to some public activities. Currently, there is no guidance, only silence. After losing friends and enduring prolonged separation from loved ones, isolation after vaccination is an additional devastation to an already fragile population. I am asking the CDC to issue clear and concise guidance that provides clarity to the millions of senior Americans who have endured more isolation than any other population. I believe this is essential to the mental health and overall wellbeing of already-vaccinated seniors.

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