How do we ask someone about their vaccination status? Is it rude?

Is it rude to ask? Is there a polite way to do it?
Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 7:58 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Vaccines are a big topic right now.

Surely, we’d like to know if someone has been vaccinated or not in some cases…but how do you even bring it up?

Is it rude to ask? Is there a polite way to do it?

This is new territory.

It could lead to an awkward situation.

So On Your Side Tonight’s Jamie Boll asked Aimee Symington, an etiquette expert from Finesse Worldwide, Inc., how to handle it.

Jamie: Is it polite to ask someone if they’ve been vaccinated?

Aimee: It really depends on why you’re asking and what you’re going to do with that information. So for example, if you’re asking just to know, that’s not OK. If you’re asking because you need to know before you send your child over to their house for a playdate, that’s another issue. So, really question why you’re asking and what you’re going to do with that information. Because if you’re going to change your plans, that’s valid. It’s OK to ask.

Jamie: Is it not OK then to use that as an opportunity to start a debate on the issue?

Aimee: Yeah, that is not OK. You don’t want to start the debate. You’re never gonna win, so you just need to know what you’re going to do with the information. So if they’re gonna say no, I have not been vaccinated, then you, in a very nice, nonjudgmental way say, “I’d love for my child to play with your child, but let’s go outside. Let’s meet at the park instead. I’m just really trying to stay safe and I’m trying to keep you safe.” So, it’s how you say it. Let’s not be judgy. Let’s give a lot of grace to where we are right now.

Jamie: Does it matter the relationship you have with the person, how forward you can be with this sort of thing?

Aimee: Yeah, that’s a really good question because if it’s family or good friends, you can, I think, gauge further and go into a discussion because it’s all about you know that relationship that you have. If it’s with people that aren’t such good friends or neighbors, that type of thing, when really it’s just best not to go there because there have been many relationships that are getting ruined just by this one issue. Jamie: If you’re not comfortable being around someone who gave you the answer that they’re not vaccinated, how do you handle that? Aimee: That has to be something that’s your choice. If you want to get together with that person, you need to make it clear that you don’t feel comfortable being inside.

Jamie: I guess we last couple of months we were getting back into this routine of getting together. Maybe you had a friend who you hadn’t seen in a long time, “Hey, let’s go have lunch. Let’s go have dinner somewhere” and you’re making the reservation. Does the conversation needs to be had in there about are we going inside or outside and coming to an agreement?

Aimee: I absolutely would say, hey, I’ve been vaccinated and or have not been vaccinated or whatever, if you want to share that information. Ask what do you feel comfortable doing? Do you want to sit inside or outside? And then they might say, well, you know I’ve been vaccinated so let’s sit inside. OK, great. Or if they say no, I have not been vaccinated. OK, great. Let’s sit outside. It’s how you respond to that, but I think, yes, it’s still very valid to ask a person about their personal preferences about being inside or outside large groups, small groups.

Jamie: It sounds like all of these things you’re saying it’s really. It’s OK to have this conversation. Do it in a respectful, polite way.

Aimee: That’s really the key. Is that a respectful way? Not being judgmental. We’re not going to change people’s opinions. We can only control ourselves. So having a conversation, I think, is important, but just being someone who is going to still be open and accepting of people and their differences is important to do.

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