Editor’s note:For the latest news on COVID-19, visit http://bit.ly/AAPNewsCOVID19.
Federal health officials say people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can visit each other without masks and physical distancing.
However, this group still faces restrictions in gathering with unvaccinated people and traveling, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“Importantly, our guidance must balance the risk to people who have been fully vaccinated, the risks to those who have not yet received a vaccine and the impact on the larger community transmission of COVID-19 with what we all recognize to be overall benefits of resuming everyday activities and getting back to some of the things we love in life,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H. said Monday.
The U.S. is averaging about 59,000 COVID-19 cases and just under 2,000 related deaths per day, according to Dr. Walensky, who said “the pandemic still remains a very serious situation.”
About 31 million people in the U.S. (9%) are fully vaccinated, defined as being at least two weeks out from their final required dose of vaccine. However, this group still may get a mild breakthrough infection, and scientists are continuing to study the risk of vaccinated people being able to transmit the virus to others.
The CDC’s new guidance laid out three activities fully vaccinated people can take safely:
- visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without masks or physical distancing;
- visit with unvaccinated people from one other household without masks or physical distancing as long as no one in the unvaccinated household is at high risk for severe disease from SARS-CoV-2 due to being 65 years or older or having certain underlying medical conditions; and
- refrain from quarantine and testing after exposure to someone who has COVID-19 if the vaccinated person is asymptomatic.
The CDC has not changed its travel guidance for fully vaccinated people and still cautions against non-essential travel.
Fully vaccinated people also should continue to use masks and physical distancing in public, when visiting unvaccinated people from multiple households and when visiting unvaccinated people who are at high risk for severe disease or those with a household member at high risk. They should avoid medium and large gatherings and get tested if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.