By CBSNewYork Team

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — This holiday weekend, more people are expected to attend gatherings with family and friends, but is it OK to ask for others’ vaccination status?

In this new phase of the pandemic, as most things reopen, the vaccinated are starting more and more to mix with the unvaccinated.

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That brings about the big question — what is proper vaccine etiquette?

“Vaccines, if you’re vaccinated, don’t work 100%. They work 95%. You may still want to know if you’re meeting with or mingling with people who aren’t vaccinated,” said Professor Arthur Caplan, a medical ethicist.

Caplan says even though most COVID restrictions have been lifted in the city, the pandemic is not over, and with highly contagious variants still out there, he says you can ask the people around you if they are fully vaccinated.


“Some people get outraged and say, ‘It’s none of your business.’ Well, it’s none of my business whether you have diabetes because I can’t catch that, but it is my business if you have an infectious disease and aren’t vaccinated,” he told CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon.

He says that same rule applies to the workplace.

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“HIPAA, our federal privacy law, does not apply to what your boss can ask. It doesn’t apply what you can ask your fellow employee. You can ask whatever you want … as long as it’s not discrimination based on race or genders,” Caplan said.

Caplan says whether you alter your behavior based on if someone is vaccinated or not is not is completely up to you, but he says if they are not, you are within your right to ask them to wear a mask or social distance in your presence.


Still, there are many who say it’s an invasion of privacy to ask someone about their health.

“There’s a lot of religious feelings about, you know, not getting it as opposed to getting it. I think that we need to respect people’s thoughts and feelings about that,” one New Yorker said.

“I think that’s a very personal decision and something that I’m entitled to keep private,” another New Yorker said.

But Caplan says as long as you remain respectful and nonjudgmental of someone else’s choices, you can and should stand up for your own health.

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CBS2’s Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team