The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released guidance for fully vaccinated people, outlining what they can safely do — including indoor, mask-free visits with other vaccinated people. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced the highly anticipated guidance during a White House briefing Monday.
Fully vaccinated people, according to the CDC, can do the following:
- Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without 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; and
- Skip quarantine and testing guidelines following a known exposure, if they're asymptomatic.
The CDC still says those who are vaccinated shouldin public, and it still discourages non-essential travel. It also says that, for now, vaccinated people should continue to avoid medium- and large-sized gatherings, and they should use prevention measures like masks and distancing when around unvaccinated people from multiple households. The CDC also still recommends getting tested if COVID-19 symptoms present themselves.
"Science and the protection of public health must guide us as we begin to resume these activities," Wolensky said. "Today's action represents an important first step. It is not our final destination. As more people get vaccinated, levels of COVID-19 infection decline in communities, and as our understanding of COVID immunity improves, we look forward to updating these recommendations to the public."
People are "fully vaccinated," according to the CDC, if two weeks have elapsed since they received the second Pfizer or Moderna shots or the single Johnson & Johnson shot. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, while thevaccine is administered in one shot. This vaccine received an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on February 27, and doses were being distributed and administered beginning last week.
The guidance comes as the nation is at a crossroads in its fight against the virus. In the last month, average daily cases nationwide have fallen more than 50%, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, but that progress has plateaued.
States around the country, including New York, Massachusetts and Arkansas, have been loosening COVID-related restrictions on businesses, adding to fears that the U.S. could be letting its guard down too early. Last week,became the third state to rescind its statewide mask mandate in recent days, joining Montana and Iowa.