We know that the COVID-19 vaccine is beneficial because it protects you from getting the virus or limits the severity of the disease should you contract it. And, there is more great news. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published its first set of public health recommendations and guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals — about 10% of the U.S. population — on how they can start to resume life as we know it. Our health care experts break down the guidance below.
What is the new guidance?
The CDC released new guidance that outlines safe socializing scenarios for fully vaccinated individuals in non-healthcare settings. It also emphasizes the importance of taking continued precautions in public and when around unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease.
What does it mean to be “fully vaccinated”?
The CDC considers someone fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after they’ve received the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or two weeks after they’ve received the single dose of the Janssen Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
What activities can I safely participate in if I am fully vaccinated?
Get ready to hug that friend of yours! Just make sure they are vaccinated too or at a low risk of severe COVID-19 disease.
- Fully vaccinated people can visit privately with other fully vaccinated individuals indoors and without a mask or physical distancing.
- Fully vaccinated people can visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at a low risk for severe COVID-19 disease, indoors and without a mask or physical distancing.
- Fully vaccinated people can avoid quarantine and testing if they had a known exposure, as long as they are asymptomatic. This guideline applies to people who don’t work in health care settings, which may have different quarantine protocols to help ensure patient and caregiver safety.
What do I still need to do?
While we all want things to get back to a sense of normal as soon as possible, we still need to follow public health guidance around masking, distancing and hand hygiene until more of the population is vaccinated. We also don’t yet know if fully vaccinated people can carry the virus and make others sick. Fully vaccinated people should continue to practice prevention measures:
- Wear masks and practice physical distance when in public.
- Wear masks and practice physical distance when visiting an unvaccinated person at high risk of severe COVID-19 disease or someone who has an unvaccinated household member at increased risk of severe COVID-19 disease.
- Wear masks and practice physical distance when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households.
- Avoid medium-to-large in-person gatherings.
- Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
- Follow guidance issued by individual employers.
- Follow CDC guidance on travel.
What else should I know about the new guidelines for fully vaccinated people?
It’s important to know that these new guidelines don’t apply to health care settings. If you visit a health care facility, please continue to follow the masking, distancing and hand hygiene guidelines in place for those facilities that help to keep patients, visitors and caregivers safe.
Also, keep in mind that these guidelines will change as the science evolves and more people become vaccinated. You can continue to receive updates on the COVID-19 vaccine by visiting our patient vaccine resource page.
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