How to ask someone if they're vaccinated

As the weather warms up, and the lead-in to Christmas starts, there's a critical question we need to consider that wasn't at play last summer.

Is the person I'm meeting with double vaccinated?

Say you're organising a gathering at your home.

You might be feeling conflicted about how to ask your visitors - or even whether to ask them - about their vaccination status.

Few people are comfortable opening up a sensitive discussion. Here are some points to bear in mind.

Firstly, you have the prerogative to ask this question of visitors to your home.

Given the challenges we've all experienced over the past 18 months, and how we want to work together to keep ourselves and others healthy, you are well within your rights to enquire about vaccination status.

Secondly, it's important to bear in mind that the first dose vaccination percentage for those over 16 in NSW, VIC and ACT is more than 90 per cent, and the other states are near 80 per cent.

So your visitors are likely to be vaccinated and open to a discussion.

They are probably wondering whether you have had a vaccine.

Finally, it is worth considering how you will use the information you gain. If your visitor is not vaccinated, will you say "I'm sorry, but we can't meet up today"? Or not?

If, at the end of the day, you wouldn't feel comfortable saying that they can't come into your house if they are not vaccinated, it is probably not something useful to discuss.

If you do decide to ask, be prepared to be surprised by the responses you receive, even from those who you think you know well.

It's striking how varied people's views on vaccination can be.

So, going back to the gathering - what is the best way to ask? It might be as simple as tacking on a "just letting you know I'm double vaccinated" to the end of the group text message.

Hopefully your visitors will reciprocate and let you know their status. If this doesn't work - and it's really important for you to know whether they are - try sending them a personal text or giving them a call.

Keep the conversation casual and non-judgemental.

We all know these are new and challenging times - and no one has a roadmap for navigating these tricky situations.

But if we all work together, it will help keep ourselves and the community safe.

Vijaya Sundararajan is a professor of public health at La Trobe University.

This article first appeared in Australian Community Media.