ATLANTA - You are fully vaccinated. So, what now?
The CDC has issued its first guidance on what Americans can safely do once they are at least two weeks out from their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
As of Monday, 9.2% of American adults, or about 31 million people, had received two doses of the vaccine.
The CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky the guidance is preliminary and will evolve as more Americans are vaccinated and infections drop.
"We know that people want to get vaccinated so they can get back to doing the things they enjoy with the people they love," Dr. Walensky says. "There are some activities that fully vaccinated people can begin to resume now in their own homes. Everyone – even those who are vaccinated – should continue with all mitigation strategies when in public settings. As the science evolves and more people get vaccinated, we will continue to provide more guidance to help fully vaccinated people safely resume more activities."
Walensky says there is growing evidence that suggests that fully vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection and may be less likely to transmit the virus that causes COVID-19. to other people.
That is why, she says, fully vaccinated individuals can safely take fewer precautions in certain situations.
The initial CDC guidelines focus on gatherings in small, private settings such as homes.
First, the agency says, fully vaccinated people can visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
For example, Dr. Walensky says, fully vaccinated friends or family members from two different homes can have dinner together without having to mask up.
"You can visit your grandparents, if you have been vaccinated, and they have been, too," Dr. Walensky says.
If you are fully vaccinated, visiting with unvaccinated people is trickier.
Under the new guidance, fully vaccinated people can visit with unvaccinated people from a single household indoors without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, as long as the unvaccinated individuals and their household members are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease.
"If grandparents have been vaccinated, they can visit their daughter and her family, even if they have not been vaccinated, so long as the daughter and her family are not at risk for severe disease," Walensky explains.
If anyone in the household is at higher risk for complications, vaccinated individuals should wear a mask and physically distance themselves from others in the setting.
"Similarly, when vaccinated people are visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households, everyone should wear masks and physically distance, and meet outdoors in a well-ventilated space," Walensky says.
The agency says fully vaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks and take other precautions in public, avoiding medium or large gatherings and postponing travel.
"Every time we have a surge in travel, there is a surge in infections in this country," Walensky says.
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