For those fortunate enough to have received their COVID-19 vaccination (and that number is increasing rapidly), you know that the vaccine comes with a refrain of reminders. Continue wearing a mask, maintain physical distance, keep washing those hands. There are several unknowns regarding the vaccine — including longevity of immunization, effectiveness against variants, and protection against contracting COVID-19 and transmitting it to others — hence the directive to stay committed to behaviors that have become quite familiar in the past year.
On March 8, offering a glimpse of optimism, the CDC also released “Interim Guidance for the Fully Vaccinated,” outlining things the ‘fully vaccinated’ can do, vs. can’t. A very nice turn of events! The guidance is expected to evolve and expand based on the proportion of the population that is fully vaccinated, and the rapidly evolving science on COVID-19 vaccines.
“Fully vaccinated” is defined by the CDC as two+ weeks after receiving the second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, or two+ weeks following the single-dose Johnson & Johnson or Janssen vaccine. A full year after the official declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic by the World Health Organization (March 11, 2020), having some treasured activities return to the “can do” list is certainly a welcome treat.
Here are the highlights:
- Fully vaccinated people may visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing. This means some hugs can return to the scene.
- Fully vaccinated people may 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. Be certain your unvaccinated friends and family are low risk before acting on this one.
- And fully vaccinated people may refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic.
What a relief! We’ve already spent plenty of time indoors keeping to ourselves. Plus, the weather is looking up! Hope is in the air indeed. Just take it slowly and surely and don’t exceed the recommendations. The last thing we all need is a COVID relapse.