The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently issued long-awaited guidance for Americans fully vaccinated against COVID-19. This is the first set of public health recommendations for fully vaccinated individuals since the beginning of the declared public health emergency.
The guidance is designed to address growing demand, as more adults have been vaccinated, providing recommendations as to how and when individuals can resume activities such as visiting family members, traveling, and participating in small gatherings — which have all been on hold since the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world.
Guidelines for Vaccinated Individuals
According to the CDC, individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, which both Pfizer and Moderna offer, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, which Johnson & Johnson is now offering. If it has been less than two weeks since your shot, or if you still need to get your second dose, you are considered “not fully protected.”
The guidance states, people who are fully vaccinated:
- Can gather indoors with fully vaccinated individuals without wearing a mask.
- Can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (i.e. visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any individual or someone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Do not need to avoid others or get tested if they have been around someone who has COVID-19 unless they have symptoms. Those who live in a group setting (i.e. a correction or detention facility, or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19 should still stay away from others for a 14-day period, in addition to getting tested, regardless of not showing symptoms.
Protective measures should still be taken such as wearing a mask, social distancing (staying 6 feet apart from others) and avoiding crowded, poorly ventilated spaces. These precautions should be taken when:
- In public;
- Gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one other household; and
- Visiting with an unvaccinated person who is at increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 or who lives with a person at increased risk.
In a recent report conducted by the CDC, the agency concluded that mask mandates and on-premise dining requirements at restaurants were associated with a decrease in daily COVID-19 cases and death growth rates. Such evidence has been a driving force in finding the safest ways to again go about our daily lives.
Making Small Gatherings Safe
The CDC recommends taking the following general steps to make small gatherings safer amidst the current pandemic:
- Wear a mask with two or more layers over your nose and mouth, while making sure the mask fits snug under your chin and the sides of your face.
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others who do not live with you and wash your hands on a consistent basis.
- Avoid crowds and indoor spaces that do not offer fresh outdoor air.
- Sign-up to receive your influenza and COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible.
- Utilize virtual video platforms to conduct small gatherings (i.e. Zoom) to keep everyone involved, socially distant and safe.
Studies have shown that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping individuals from contracting the virus and can help limit the possibility of getting seriously ill. It is essential to consider these vaccines as a positive step forward and an important tool to help everyone stay safe and healthy.
As we learn more about the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, the CDC continues to encourage everyone, even individuals who have been fully vaccinated, to take precautionary steps to limit the risk of spreading the virus. Want to learn more about these recommendations? Click here to view expanded Public Health Recommendations.
For additional guidance on ways to safely gather with friends and family, click here.
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