Vaccination remains CDC’s top COVID-19 safety recommendation ahead of holiday travel

[anvplayer video=”5063994″ station=”998122″]

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laid out guidelines for how to handle this holiday season, and a handful of restrictions are still recommended.

“I think we’re just kind of going back to more or less normal with the whole family vaccinated,” Minnesota resident Nate Stone said.

In 2020, COVID-19 threw a wrench in holiday traditions. Some families ditched in-person gatherings, connecting with loved ones through a screen.

“That was weird. I don’t think anyone really wants to do that again,” Stone said. “I’m excited to see people in person”

This year, the CDC is no longer recommending virtual gatherings for the holidays.

Some said they’re moving forward with baby steps.

“I’m not wanting to rush things. I’m just taking it a day at a time,” Minnesota resident Sam Johnson said.

The CDC now says the key to gathering safely is getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

Since children under 12 are not eligible for the shot yet, health officials said it’s important adults do their part and get vaccinated.

“Kids can get COVID, and they’re getting COVID at higher rates this year because of the change in the strains that we’re seeing,” said Dr. Amy Elliot, District One Hospital medical director. “Some kids are also getting hospitalized with it again, particularly kids who have other medical illnesses, but healthy children can as well.”

The CDC said regardless of vaccination status, people in areas with substantial to high COVID-19 spread should wear a mask indoors.

According to CDC data, all counties in Minnesota and Wisconsin have high rates of COVID-19 transmission right now.

The guidance said being outdoors is safer.

“I think we’re all tired. We want it to be done, and the way we get over COVID is by working as a community to keep one another safe,” Elliot said. "I am sincerely hopeful that 2022 is going to be a year to say we’ve got this under control.”

Kids ages 5 to 11 could be vaccinated by the holidays. Pfizer submitted data to get its vaccine approved for that age group.

Earlier this week the White House said children could start getting vaccinated next month.