The CDC has issued new guidance for vaccinated people, giving the green-light to resume some pre-pandemic activities and relax precautions that have been in place.
Specifically, people who are fully vaccinated can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks or social distancing. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they have gotten the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines (or two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine).
Vaccinated people can also gather, unmasked, with people from another household who are not yet vaccinated, as long as those people are at low risk of serious illness from the virus. However, the agency said, vaccinated people should continue to mask when they’re in public, avoid crowds and take other precautions when gathering with unvaccinated people who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
The CDC said this new guidance is a “first step” to returning to everyday activities. There’s accumulating evidence to show that people who are fully vaccinated are less likely to become infected and also “potentially” less likely to spread the virus to others, agency officials wrote in a press release.
“We know that people want to get vaccinated so they can get back to doing the things they enjoy with the people they love,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement on the new guidelines.
The new guidance is specific to freedoms that vaccinated people can resume in their own homes, but the agency warns that everyone – even those who are vaccinated – should continue to follow recommended guidelines in public settings, including masking.
Walensky said this is the first round of guidance, but more will follow as the science evolves and more people are fully vaccinated.
Here’s the CDC’s specific guidance for what fully vaccinated people can do:
- “Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing;
- “Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
- “Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure to COVID-19 if asymptomatic”
The CDC said fully vaccinated people should continue to take these COVID-19 precautions:
- “Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing
- “Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
- “Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households
- “Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings
- “Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
- “Follow guidance issued by individual employers
- “Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations”