Image by Willfried Wende from Pixabay

Fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to take safety precautions when gathering with other vaccinated people, according to new CDC guidelines released today. 

Fully vaccinated people can now gather indoors, across different vaccinated households, without masks or social distancing, according to new guidance released by the CDC on Monday. 

Approximately 59 million Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 31 million people are fully vaccinated, less than 10% of America. However, with President Biden’s announcement that there will be enough doses for all American adults by May, increasingly more people will be able to gather safely without masking or social distancing. 

“The science of COVID-19 is complex and our understanding of the virus continues to rapidly evolve,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during the COVID-19 press conference on Monday. “The recommendations issued today are just a first step. As more people get vaccinated and the science and evidence expand, and as the disease dynamics of this country change, we will continue to update this guidance.”

According to the released CDC guidance, fully vaccinated individuals can also visit a household of low-risk, unvaccinated individuals without masks or social distancing. However, if vaccinated individuals are visiting multiple unvaccinated households or high-risk unvaccinated individuals, the CDC recommends masks and socially distancing. 

Vaccinated people should continue to wear well-fitted masks and social distance in public places and avoid unessential travel. However, if exposed to COVID-19, vaccinated individuals no longer have to quarantine or get tested, as long as they do not have any symptoms, Dr. Walensky said. 

“Like you, I want to be able to return to everyday activities and engage with our friends, families, and communities, science and the protection of public health must guide us as we begin to resume these activities,” Dr. Walensky said. 

The three FDA-approved vaccines are proven to be safe and effective in preventing serious infection and death, however, there is increasing data of “breakthrough” infections that cause mild sickness. It is still unknown if vaccinated individuals can transmit COVID-19 if infected, emphasizing the importance of maintaining social distancing and proper masking until the majority of the U.S. population is vaccinated. 

As more people receive vaccines, more people will be able to gather safely without masks or socially distancing, restoring a sense of normalcy. Until then, it is important to keep vigilant to protect our communities in this last push to the end. 

“All of this is challenging, our message is to keep going,” Andy Slavitt said during the press conference. “I know the pace is challenging. This is a war, we can’t let up.”

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