(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Fully vaccinated Americans may be able to spend the upcoming holidays with their family members — that is, if those people are fully vaccinated, as well.
New guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance on Monday about how fully vaccinated Americans can operate as the nation continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CDC now says those who have received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine — or the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine — and waited the two weeks to build up their immunity, can safely gather with other fully vaccinated individuals without the need to wear masks or socially distance.
However, the CDC strongly warns their guidance applies to low risk individuals and doesn’t extend to large gatherings.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky explained, “If you and a friend or you and a family member are both vaccinated, you can have dinner together… You can visit your grandparents, if you have been vaccinated and they have been too.”
Dr. Walensky added that that the guidance does not extend to those with underlying conditions or those who are considered high risk, and added that fully vaccinated individuals should wear masks and socially distance while gathering.
“Here’s an example: If grandparents have been vaccinated, they can visit their daughter and her family, even if they have not been vaccinated, so long as the daughter and her family are not at risk for severe disease,” she added.
In addition, should a fully vaccinated person be exposed to COVID-19, they need not quarantine or get tested if they don’t present symptoms.
Dr. Walensky said that all people, no matter their vaccination status, should continue wearing masks and socially distance when out in public. In addition, the CDC still discourages large gatherings and travel.
“In terms of travel, here’s what we know: every time that there’s a surge in travel, we have a surge in cases in this country. We know that many of our variants have emerged from international places, and we know that the travel corridor is a place where people are mixing a lot,” said Walensky.
COVID-19 has infected over 29 million Americans and killed over 525,000 people in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University.