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April 2021: Sharing Vaccination Information

Question: In my work as an occupational therapist, I often get asked by clients if I have been vaccinated. Should I tell clients if I have received the COVID-19 vaccination or not?

Answer: COVID-19 vaccination is an important topic of conversation in health care settings and it may come up naturally as part of discussions with clients and their families. Occupational therapists work with clients who are often part of vulnerable groups and as a result they may have added worry about the potential transmission of the virus.

First, we suggest that you talk with clients and get a sense of what may be underlying the question.

While health information is private, you may choose to tell clients if you have, or have not, been vaccinated.

We know vaccination is an important defense against virus transmission, however, public health measures also reduce the likelihood of transmission. Discussing those precautions as they relate to occupational therapy service can help to alleviate some worry.

If you do not want to share your vaccination status, a reply like “I am not comfortable disclosing my personal health information, but let’s talk about safety and the measures in place to protect you and I during these times…” can address underlying concerns or curiosity.

We are often reminded of how intuitive and respectful occupational therapists are when answering potentially sensitive questions and we trust the same good judgement prevails in questions about vaccination.

Lastly, you may want to check with your organization to see what their expectations are about navigating these conversations with clients and their families.

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