CDC issues 2021 holiday COVID-19 guidance urging vaccination ahead of gatherings
WASHINGTON - The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released official public health guidance for its 2021 holiday season urging people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus while continuing to wear masks indoors and in public spaces.
The guidance stresses that people should get vaccinated ahead of the holidays if they haven't done so already. For young children who aren't yet eligible for the vaccine, the CDC suggests reducing risk of exposure by making sure the people around them are vaccinated.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to head the Centers for Disease Control, speaks during a news conference at the Queen Theater December 08, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. ((Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images))
"Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate holidays, the best way to minimize COVID-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible," the CDC wrote in a press release on Friday.
The agency also suggested wearing well-fitting masks that cover the nose and mouth if in public indoor settings if not fully vaccinated. Even those who are fully vaccinated should wear a mask in public indoor settings in communities with substantial to high transmission, the CDC said.
"By working together, we can enjoy safer holidays, travel, and protect our own health as well as the health of our family and friends," the CDC continued.
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The agency noted that those who are sick or have symptoms of COVID-19 should avoid hosting or attending a gathering.
"If you are considering traveling for a holiday or event, visit CDC’s Travel page to help you decide what is best for you and your family. CDC still recommends delaying travel until you are fully vaccinated," the agency wrote.
The latest guidance comes as the nation braces for yet another possible surge in COVID-19 infections as cold weather drives people indoors while the pandemic persists.
Earlier this month, the CDC took down outdated guidance from its website on safely celebrating the upcoming holiday season amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to a spokesperson.
A link had originally sent people to an outdated holiday guidance URL that suggested Americans should hold virtual celebrations over the upcoming holidays with their families.
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"The guidance on that page was outdated holiday guidance. The page had a technical update on Friday, but doesn’t reflect the CDC’s guidance ahead of this upcoming holiday season," the spokesperson wrote in a statement to FOX Television Stations on Oct. 5.
This is a developing story. FOX News and Austin Williams contributed.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.