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'You can feel good about enjoying a typical Thanksgiving' | Advice from health experts on how to safely celebrate this year

Last year the CDC advised against traveling and gatherings for Thanksgiving. But this year, thanks to the rollout of vaccines, the holiday is looking more promising

DES MOINES, Iowa — When thinking of what you're thankful for this Thanksgiving, Dr. Fauci believes vaccines should be included in that list. 

"If you get vaccinated and your family is vaccinated, you can feel good about enjoying a typical Thanksgiving, Christmas with your family and close friends," said the Chief Medical Advisor to the White House.

Fauci recommends people still wear masks while in indoor or crowded spaces. But encourages people to safely celebrate. 

"But when you're with your family at home, goodness, enjoy it with your parents, your children, your grandparents," said Dr. Fauci. "There's no reason not to do that.

But what if your guests can't or won't get vaccinated? UnityPoint Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Leyla Best says you still have options.

"What I would propose is to have a very clear and frank conversation in maybe if that person is not vaccinated this is when the antigen testing, the rapid testing, could be helpful," said Best. 

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Dr. Best says those tests can provide results as quickly as 20 minutes. If taken on the day of the party, it can give guests more peace of mind the space is COVID-19 free. 

"At least to know that that person is not actively shedding or sharing the virus and decreasing the risk of transmission."

The kickoff to the holiday season comes with the start of flu season. This is why Dr. Best recommends you also get a flu shot. 

"We are going to start having cases of flu and other viruses causing more serious disease and bringing patients to the hospitals," said Best. "The ERs are full and this is still an ongoing situation. They overwhelm the system to the point that we don't have enough staff also to treat all these patients."

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