The CDC released a new set of guidelines on Monday for Americans who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, a highly anticipated development as the US nears a year since the national emergency was declared over the pandemic.
The list of recommendations issued by the US health agency indicates fully vaccinated individuals can freely gather with others who have been inoculated against SARS-CoV-2, the deadly virus that causes COVID-19, without having to wear a mask or adhere to social distancing measures.
Individuals are also cleared to visit with unvaccinated people from a single household without having to wear a mask or maintain a social distance, so long as those visitors are at a “low risk for severe COVID-19” infections.
Additionally, those fully vaccinated will not have to fall in line with quarantine or testing measures if they are exposed to the deadly virus and are asymptomatic. However, should the individual begin to display symptoms, the CDC warns they should isolate and get tested.
To note, an individual is only considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they have either taken Johnson & Johnson’s one dose vaccine or both shots of Moderna’s or Pfizer’s two-dose regimens.
Latest data provided by the CDC states that while over 90 million doses have been administered, only 30.6 million Americans - 9.2% of the nation’s population - have actually been fully vaccinated against the virus.
Despite the new guidance, the health agency highlighted in its Monday release that there are still some activities fully vaccinated individuals need to steer clear of, such as avoiding medium- and large-sized gatherings. Individuals also need to continue to implement preventative measures when in public.
The 30 million Americans should also continue to wear masks and keep a distance from unvaccinated individuals from multiple households, especially when visiting with people or a home where someone is at an “increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease.”
“It’s important to note that this is initial guidance. The science of COVID-19 is complex and our understanding of the virus continues to rapidly evolve,” Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, said during a Monday briefing. “The recommendations issued today are just a first step.”
Walensky underscored that additional guidance would be forthcoming, as researchers and government officials gain a better understanding of the ever-evolving situation. Regardless of one’s vaccination status, the CDC is still urging against travel.