ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines March 8 for Americans who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 giving people more flexibility to gather in group settings and do more activities the CDC suggested stop during the pandemic.
CDC guidelines state that people who have been fully vaccinated can gather indoors with others who are also fully vaccinated without wearing a mask or physical distancing. Fully vaccinated people should still wear a mask in public.
People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of a two-dose vaccine like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and two weeks after a single dose vaccine like Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, according to the CDC.
People can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other households — like visiting with relatives who all live together — without masks unless any of those people or those they live with have an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, according to the guidelines.
Those who are at an increased risk include adults at any age with cancer, COPD, Down syndrome, heart conditions, pregnancy and more. The full list can be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html.
If a person who has been fully vaccinated is around someone who has COVID-19, they do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless they have symptoms. However, the guidelines state that if someone lives in a group setting, and is around someone who has COVID-19, they should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested even if they don’t have symptoms.
“This updated guidance from the CDC reinforces the fact that COVID-19 vaccines will play a very important role in how we all get back to some normal activities," said Jennifer Greene, AppHealthCare health director. "It is important to understand how this updated guidance plays out in our everyday lives for those who are fully vaccinated and precautions like wearing a mask, waiting 6 feet from others and washing your hands remain critical and helpful tools to slow the spread of this virus."
Greene said the vaccines are safe and effective at preventing illness, hospitalization and death and that AppHealthCare encourages people to get their shot when their time comes.
The CDC stated it is still learning about some aspects of how well the vaccines protect against new COVID-19 variants, how well they stop people from spreading COVID-19 and how long the vaccine protects against COVID-19.
People who are fully vaccinated take steps to protect themselves and others by still wearing a mask, staying at least six feet apart from others and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. The CDC suggests those precautions should be used whenever a person is:
Gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one other household
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
The CDC stated it will continue to update its recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people as the agency learns more about the vaccines.
More issues on the new guidliens can be found at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html.