The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday released highly-anticipated new guidance for people who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, saying those who have received the vaccine can resume some activities they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
Those who have been fully vaccinated can gather indoors with other fully-vaccinated people without wearing a face mask, and vaccinated people can also gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without wearing masks unless anyone in the other household is high-risk for severe illness from the coronavirus, according to the CDC.
The CDC cautioned that even vaccinated people should continue to take precautions in public places like wearing a mask, staying six feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. In settings that involve more than two households gathering together, the CDC recommended vaccinated people taking more precautions as well, such as wearing a mask and physically distancing. Both domestic and international travel should still be delayed, the agency added.
If a vaccinated person is exposed to the coronavirus, they do not need to quarantine or get tested unless they develop symptoms. If the person lives in a group setting like a correctional facility, however, the CDC recommended that they should still quarantine for two weeks and and get tested if they are exposed, even if they do not have symptoms.
An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is a single shot.
“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.
Late last month, the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use approval to the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the third coronavirus vaccine to be approved for use in the United States. Johnson & Johnson has said that its vaccine is 66% effective against COVID-19, less effective than the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which have been shown to be 95% effective.
Still, more than half of Americans say they would decline or delay getting the vaccine if it were available to them now for free, according to polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Previously, some expressed concern that Americans are being undersold the vaccine, especially if getting the shot does not mean they get to go back to participating in activities they love, such as vaccinated grandparents getting to visit with their grandchildren again.
“We’re underselling the vaccine,” Dr. Aaron Richterman, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Pennsylvania, told the New York Times in January.
“It’s going to save your life — that’s where the emphasis has to be right now,” Dr. Peter Hotez of the Baylor College of Medicine told the same paper.
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