CDC says fully vaccinated individuals have more leeway with COVID-19 guidelines


▶ Watch Video: Nurse practitioner discusses expected CDC guidance for people who’ve been vaccinated

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released guidance for fully vaccinated people, outlining what they can safely do — including visiting indoors and mask-free with other vaccinated people. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced the highly anticipated guidance during a White House COVID-19 briefing Monday.

Fully vaccinated people, according to the CDC, can do the following:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing;
  • Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing; and
  • Skip quarantine and testing guidelines following a known exposure, if they’re asymptomatic.

The CDC still says those who are vaccinated should wear a face covering in public and still discourages non-essential travel.

People are “fully vaccinated,” according to the CDC, if two weeks have elapsed since they received the second Pfizer or Moderna shots, or the single Johnson & Johnson shot.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is administered in a single shot. That vaccine received an Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on February 27, and doses were being distributed and administered beginning last week.

The guidance comes as the nation is at a crossroads in its fight against the virus. In the last month, average daily cases nationwide have fallen more than 50%, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, but that progress has plateaued.

States around the country, including New York, Massachusetts and Arkansas, have been loosening COVID-related restrictions on businesses, adding to fears that the U.S. could be letting its guard down too early. Last week, Texas became the third state to rescind its statewide mask mandate in recent days, joining Montana and Iowa.

At the same time, the pace of vaccinations continues to increase, and with more Americans vaccinated, the need for new guidance on what this population can safely do has grown.

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