On March 8, Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its first set of guidelines for those people who have been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. It includes public health recommendations for vaccinated people on how they can visit and interact with other vaccinated or unvaccinated people in small gatherings.

As more number of people continue to get vaccinated every day, this new guidance represents a first step towards returning to everyday activities in our communities. CDC will keep on updating these recommendations as more people are vaccinated, rates of COVID-19 in the community change, and additional scientific evidence becomes available.

The CDC guideline recognizes a person as fully vaccinated when two weeks have passed after they received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or two weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson).

Taking a small step towards normalcy, fully vaccinated people can now safely visit other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing. They can also visit unvaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing, provided they are from a single household and at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease.

The federal health agency categorises indoor gatherings for a single household as ‘low-risk’. But as the size of gatherings increase with people from multiple households, it is advisable to meet outdoors or in a space with proper ventilation. In gatherings with multiple households, everyone should wear a mask and practice social distancing as per the norms.

Some other recommendations for fully vaccinated people are as follows:

  1. Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing
  2. Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households
  3. Avoid medium and large-sized in-person gatherings
  4. No need to quarantine or be tested following a known exposure, if asymptomatic 
  5. If experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms, isolate yourself and get tested

As per the data collected by CDC, only 9.2% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated right now, and 17.7% have received at least one dose. For COVID-19 precautions to be lifted broadly, a vast majority of the population needs to be vaccinated first. Till then, everyone must adhere to public health mitigation measures to protect those who remain unvaccinated.

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