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CONTACT: Karen Landers, M.D.
(256) 383-1231

Many people are busy making final plans for Thanksgiving and the upcoming holiday season. What’s the recipe for a healthy and happy Thanksgiving holiday 2021? The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) suggests including the following components, with the main ingredient being COVID-19 vaccination for all eligible children, adolescents and adults age 5 and older. Booster shots are also recommended for groups of eligible people at least 2 weeks before holiday gatherings.

That’s because the virus that causes COVID-19 transmits easily and can spread during shared meals and traditional holiday activities that may involve multiple generations. In addition to vaccinations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following measures to minimize risk.

  • Wear a mask when grocery shopping or in other public indoor settings or when serving food.
  • Wash your hands before eating or serving food.
  • Outdoors is safer than indoors, weather permitting.
  • Communicate in advance with guests about your COVID-19 ground rules and the precautions you’re taking. Cancel plans if you are sick and stay away from others.
  • Safe Travels. If possible, delay travel unless you are fully vaccinated. If you are traveling with unvaccinated family members, such as children who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated, take additional precautions. Avoid crowds, wear a mask, and get tested before and after your trip.

Last year an upsurge of COVID-19 cases was experienced following the holiday season. Even though cases, hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 currently are far fewer than in the late summer peak, the course of the virus is unpredictable.

No single solution exists for all groups and families, and all risks cannot be eliminated. For some individuals, families or groups with vulnerable seniors, or members with chronic health conditions, staying home and hosting virtual gatherings may be advisable again this year. Be considerate of others, especially the immunocompromised and young children, in planning your holiday celebrations. Other suggestions for careful hosts include letting guests know what is expected before they arrive so there are no surprises, asking everyone attending to get a flu shot in advance, and insisting that people who show symptoms of illness stay home.

Your efforts can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Effective and consistent safety measures should allow everyone to enjoy the holiday festivities by lowering the risk of contracting and transmitting COVID-19 and its severe outcomes.



County health departments throughout Alabama provide a wide range of confidential and professional services. Contact your local county health department for additional information.

Mission: To promote, protect, and improve Alabama’s health

Vision: Healthy People. Healthy Communities. Healthy Alabama.

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RSA Tower 201 Monroe Street, Suite 910, Montgomery, AL 36104
Phone: (334) 206-5300 | Fax: (334) 206-5520

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