The Biden-Harris Administration held a press briefing Monday morning to announce the first recommendations from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) regarding guidelines for individuals who are considered “fully vaccinated” from COVID19.
As more Americans are gaining access to the vaccine, and with a new single-dose vaccine produced by Johnson and Johnson now available to the public, the CDC announced that people fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can safely visit with other vaccinated people and small groups of unvaccinated people in some circumstances, but there are still important safety precautions needed.
There are currently more than 30 million individuals in America considered to be fully vaccinated. In North Carolina, the state is reporting that just over 1 million residents have received their second dose of the COVID19 vaccine.
Western North Carolina breakdown of vaccination numbers:
This is the first set of public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people. This guidance will be updated and expanded based on the level of community spread of SARS-CoV-2, the proportion of the population that is fully vaccinated, and the rapidly evolving science on COVID-19 vaccines.
“Covid-19 continues to exert a tremendous toll on our nation. Like you, I want to be able to return to everyday activities and engage with our friends, families, and communities,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at the White House briefing Monday. “Science, and the protection of public health must guide us as we begin to resume these activities. Today’s action represents an important first step. It is not our final destination.”
For the purposes of this guidance, people are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or ≥2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen ).
The following recommendations apply to non-healthcare settings.
Fully vaccinated people can:
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
Refrain from quarantine and testing if exposed to someone who has Covid-19 but are asymptomatic, but should monitor for symptoms for 14 days
For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:
Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing
Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households
Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings
Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
Follow guidance issued by individual employers
Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations
According to the CDC’s announcement, guidelines for fully vaccinated people who live in a non-health care congregate setting, such as a group home detention facility, they should quarantine for 14 days and get tested if exposed to someone with a suspected or confirmed Covid-19 case.
The guidelines say that the risk of infection in social activities like going to the gym or restaurant is lower for the fully vaccinated, however, people should still take precautions as transmission risk in these settings is higher and increases the more unvaccinated there are there
From the CDC:
What We Know and What We’re Still Learning
We know that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death.
We’re 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.
We know that other prevention steps help stop the spread of COVID-19, and that these steps are still important, even as vaccines are being distributed.
We’re 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.
We’re still learning how long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.
As we know more, CDC will continue to update our recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.