CDC: Americans who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 can start returning to regular life (video)

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So you’ve gotten your shots, now what? Can you visit your grandparents? Can you hug your relatives? Can you have dinner with a friend? 

The short answer is: Yes. But you’ll still have to follow certain guidelines

This week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that people who have been fully vaccinated can slowly start returning to regular, pre-pandemic life. 

"Science, and the protection of public health, must guide us as we begin to resume these activities. Today's action represents an important first step. It is not our final destination,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky at the White House briefing Monday. 

According to the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after a second dose with two-dose vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna). With a single-dose vaccine, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the one dose (Johnson & Johnson). 

The new guidelines are centered on what fully vaccinated people can do in their own homes. The CDC still warns that everyone, fully vaccinated or not, should follow certain recommendations while in public, like wearing masks and social distancing. Avoiding non-essential travel is still recommended. 

A hug from grandparents is something that many people are looking forward to after they’re vaccinated.

"We would like to give the opportunity to vaccinated grandparents to visit their grandchildren and children who are healthy and who are local, but our travel guidance currently has been unchanged,” said Walensky. 

What you can do if you’re fully vaccinated:

  • You can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people, no masks or distancing needed. 
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household, no mask or distancing needed. Make sure the unvaccinated people and the people they live with are considered low risk for severe disease. 
  • You can skip getting tested or quarantining if you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19. But you should get tested and quarantine if you are showing symptoms (monitor for 14 days), and you should get tested and quarantine for 14 days if you live in a group setting.  

Precautions you should take, even if you’re fully vaccinated: 

-In public spaces, wear masks, stay socially distanced (six feet) 

-Avoid crowds & poorly ventilated spaces 

-Avoid medium or large-sized gatherings 

-Avoid gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one household 

-Avoid visiting unvaccinated people at increased risk for getting severely sick from COVID-19 

-Avoid travel. If you do travel, you should follow CDC travel requirements and recommendations 

-You should still get tested and isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19 

-You should still follow workplace rules 

COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing disease, but early data show the vaccines may be less effective against some COVID-19 variants. 

About 90% of the country is still unvaccinated. As of Monday, about 59 million people in the U.S. have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. About 31 million people are fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. 

"As more people get vaccinated, levels of COVID-19 infection decline in communities, and as our understanding of COVID immunity improves, we look forward to updating these recommendations to the public,” said Walensky.

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