The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has announced that people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are allowed to gather indoors, unmasked with other people who are also vaccinated. They can also visit people who are unvaccinated and from the same household, without masks or social distancing. However, those who are unvaccinated should not be at high risk of getting infected with COVID-19. eg. vaccinated grandparents can visit their healthy children, grandchildren and family and friends. A vaccinated person will have to wear a mask, practice social distance if they are meeting people from more than one household.
A person is considered 'fully vaccinated' two weeks after they receive their second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, according to an AFP report. Since Johnson and Johnson is only a single shot vaccine, a person would be considered vaccinated two weeks after their shot.
This highly awaited announcement was made on Monday by the CDC.
"With more and more people vaccinated each day, we are starting to turn a corner," said CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky.
According to NPR's vaccination tracker, as of 9 March, more than 90 million doses have been administered which is around 17.7 percent of the country. The US is administering around 2.2 million vaccine shots a day.
During a press briefing, Walensky said that more guidelines will be made in the coming weeks and months as more people are vaccinated and the numbers of cases reduce. More activities will be okay-ed as vaccinations take place. This announcement is the "first step" toward restoring normalcy in how people come together.
A report by The Associated Press also stated that Walensky said that as more science emerges on the ability of those who have been vaccinated to get and spread the virus, more guidances will be announced.
If a person who is fully-vaccinated came in contact with someone who is infected with Covid-19, they do not need to get tested or quarantine themselves unless they show symptoms. The guidance did mention an exception to this rule. If the person lives in "a congregate setting like a nursing home or correctional facility" they would have to get tested and quarantine like usual.
This comes as good news for many Americans, who like the rest of the world, have been cooped in their house. The CDC did mention that even fully vaccinated people need to continue wearing masks and social distancing in public, or in indoor gatherings involving people from more than one household.
The CDC recommended against attending larger gatherings and travelling in the country or to foreign countries. They also did not make any mention of those 'who may have gained some level of immunity' after they have recovered from coronavirus.
The guidance was "welcome news to a nation that is understandably tired of the pandemic and longs to safely resume normal activities," said Dr Richard Besser, former acting director of the CDC to AP.
"I hope that this new guidance provides the momentum for everyone to get vaccinated when they can and gives states the patience to follow the public health roadmap needed to reopen their economies and communities safely."
Scientists are now very confident that authorized Covid vaccines protect people against severe disease and death. There is also growing evidence that they stop infections " though probably not at the same rate as they stop the disease " more research is needed to get a firmer idea.
With inputs from wires