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For Vaccinated Americans, Nothing Feels As Good As Hugging A Loved One Again

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

For those lucky enough to get the vaccine, probably nothing is as sweet as that first hug with a loved one, those we've had to stay away from in order to keep them and ourselves safe. And we're seeing a wave of those now as vaccination picks up.

SYLVESTER GERTZ: My daughter and son were up here just before to see me. That's the first time I've seen them for a long time. Whoa. We hugged and hugged (laughter). They're all planning on getting up here for my birthday. I'll be 96 in May. We'll be drinking. I'll tell you that.

(LAUGHTER)

ERICA MCKENNEY: Because I've gotten the vaccine, I've been able to hug my coworkers. It has been really difficult working as a health care representative during the pandemic. I think that it provided them a lot of support. You know, physical touch is another kind of emotion that humans need and that we were really lacking during this pandemic.

GARY JACKSON: My mother's name is Nancelia Scott-Jackson (ph). She's 96 years young. Since March of 2020, neither I nor anyone outside the household have had a chance to hug her, kiss her, even touch her hand. That first hug will be something that I know that my mother, who is a journalist, will write in her journal as a momentous occasion.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Sylvester Gertz (ph) of Wisconsin, Erica McKenney (ph) of Washington, D.C., and Gary Jackson (ph) of Colorado.

(SOUNDBITE OF STEVE PETRUNAK'S "HERE COMES THE SUN") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.