New guidance for those that have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have been released by the Centers for Disease Control.
The guidance was released on March 9, and outlines safe activities for people who have received both doses of the vaccine from Pfizer and Moderna, or after a single dose from Johnson & Johnson. For both vaccines, people must wait at least two weeks after receiving the vaccines to make sure they’re effective.
Those who have received the vaccines can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask. People can also gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without masks, as long as none of those people or those they live with have an increased risk for severe illness from the virus.
Those who have been vaccinated, and been around someone who has COVID-19, don’t need to get tested unless they develop symptoms.
That’s what’s changed, but much of the guidance remains the same. The CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks, stay at least 6 feet apart and avoid crows and poorly ventilated places. Medium and large gatherings are still to be avoided, and travel should be delayed if possible.
It also remains unclear how effective the vaccines will be against new variants of the virus. Early data shows that vaccines may work against some, but could be less effective against others, the CDC states.
At least three major variants have emerged, and are circulating globally. They include the UK Variant which spreads more easily and quickly than other variants. Variants first detected in South Africa and Brazil are also circulating.
Last month, Seth Cohen, medical director of Infection Prevention at the University of Washington Medical Center, told this paper that masks are still essential. Even with new variants, masking remains a highly-effective technique. However, for it to be effective, it needs to be universally adhered to.