The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidelines Monday morning about how people can go about with their lives after becoming fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The simple answer? Cautiously.
The CDC said that people should still take precautions even after being vaccinated because it remains unclear how the coronavirus variants will respond to the vaccines. Still, the CDC said people can start doing the following once they’ve had the two-shot regimens from drug companies Pfizer and Moderna:
• You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
• You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
• If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
The CDC considers the following criteria for those to be fully vaccinated.
• Two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
• Two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.
The CDC also urges people to take caution in the following ways:
• You should still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
Take these precautions whenever you are:
• In public.
• Gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one other household.
• Visiting with an unvaccinated person who is at increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 or who lives with a person at increased risk.
• You should still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings.
• You should still delay domestic and international travel. If you do travel, you’ll still need to follow CDC requirements and recommendations.
• You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
• You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace.
There is still much the CDC says they’re learning about COVID-19 and how the vaccines can be effective against the virus. Those include:
• COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death. The CDC said it’s still learning how effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. Early data show the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.
• Other prevention steps help stop the spread of COVID-19, and that these steps are still important, even as vaccines are being distributed. The CDC said it’s still learning how well COVID-19 vaccines keep people from spreading the disease. Early data show that the vaccines may help keep people from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more as more people get vaccinated.
• The CDC said it’s still learning how long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.