People who are fully vaccinated can now gather indoors without masks or social distancing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its new guidance on Monday.
“There are some activities that fully vaccinated people can begin to resume now in their own homes,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky said in a press release. “Taking steps towards relaxing certain measures for vaccinated persons may help improve COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and uptake.”
People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after getting the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, or two weeks after the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
The CDC says that fully vaccinated people do not have to wear a mask or physically distance themselves from others who are also fully vaccinated or those who are unvaccinated but “are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease.”
They also do not need to be tested or quarantined if they are asymptomatic following exposure to individuals confirmed or suspected of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
But this does not apply to those who’ve been fully vaccinated in group homes, prisons, and other “non-healthcare congregate settings” since they “may face high turnover of residents, a higher risk of transmission, and challenges in maintaining recommended physical distancing.”
Other fully vaccinated people should also isolate and get tested if they have symptoms and signs consistent with COVID-19 since they could still spread the CCP virus to other people, according to the CDC.
Investigations are still ongoing on whether fully vaccinated people can transmit the virus and if they are less likely to experience an asymptomatic infection.
The federal agency says that fully vaccinated persons should continue to practice preventative measures such as mask-wearing, physical distancing, and frequent hand washing when in public or visiting unvaccinated individuals at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness.
As for traveling, Walensky says the CDC maintains its current guidance that people should avoid “non-essential” travel.
“Every time that there’s a surge in travel, we have a surge of cases in this country,” Walensky said at a press briefing today. “We are really trying to restrain travel at this current period of time, and we’re hopeful that our next set of guidance will have more science around what vaccinated people can do, perhaps travel being among them.”
Walensky says that the guidance will continue to be updated as “more people get vaccinated and the science and evidence expands, and as the disease dynamics of the country change.”
She also said, as of Monday “59 million people in the United States have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and approximately 31 million or 9.2 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated.”