The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued new guidance for vaccinated people, giving the green light to resume some pre-pandemic activities and relax precautions that have been in place.
Specifically, the new guidance says, people who are fully vaccinated can visit indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks or social distancing. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they have gotten the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines (or two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine).
Vaccinated people can also visit, unmasked, with people from another household who are not yet vaccinated, as long as those people are at low risk of serious illness from the virus. However, the agency said, vaccinated people should continue to wear masks when they’re in public, avoid crowds and take other precautions when gathering with unvaccinated people who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19.
The new guidance also allows fully vaccinated individuals to forgo testing and quarantining following a known COVID-19 exposure, as long as they are not experiencing symptoms.
The CDC said this new guidance is a “first step” to returning to everyday activities. There’s accumulating evidence to show that people who are fully vaccinated are less likely to become infected and also “potentially” less likely to spread the virus to others, agency officials wrote in a press release.
“We know that people want to get vaccinated so they can get back to doing the things they enjoy with the people they love,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a statement about the new guidelines.
The new guidance is specific to freedoms that vaccinated people can resume in their own homes, but the agency warns that everyone — even those who are vaccinated — should continue to follow recommended guidelines in public settings, including wearing masks.
The CDC is not updating its travel guidance at this time, Walensky said at a White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing on Monday. She stressed that everyone should continue to avoid nonessential trips, regardless of vaccination status. The CDC director cited previous spikes in case counts after surges in travel and the emergence of variants from international locations.
Existing travel guidance still applies in the case of fully vaccinated grandparents who are hoping to visit their low-risk family members, Walensky said in response to a reporter’s question.