It's a baby step toward normalcy, now that more shots than ever are being doled out: The CDC on Monday issued new guidance with greater freedoms for people who have been fully vaccinated. The rules are likely to please grandparents itching to see their grandchildren in person for the first time in a year or so—provided they live nearby. Some of the highlights:
- Who qualifies: The fully vaccinated are those who have received both doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. However, as CNN notes, people are not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after their final shot.
- Visits: The CDC says it's safe for these people to visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household without wearing masks or social distancing, per the Washington Post. But long-distance travel is still discouraged, and no such visits should take place if any of the unvaccinated people are at risk for severe disease.
- Example: "Fully vaccinated grandparents can visit indoors with their unvaccinated healthy daughter and her healthy children without wearing masks or physical distancing, provided none of the unvaccinated family members are at risk of severe COVID-19," says the CDC, per NBC News.
- Gatherings: The fully vaccinated can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks.
- Unchanged: These people should still take the usual precautions of wearing a mask and social distancing in public, during gatherings with unvaccinated people from multiple households, or when near people at higher risk, per the AP. They should continue to avoid medium- and large-sized groups, poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and domestic and international travel.
- Exposure: If exposed to someone who has COVID, the fully vaccinated don't need to self-quarantine or get tested unless they have symptoms.
- A reward: Former acting CDC chief Dr. Richard Besser calls the new guidelines welcome. "This opens the door for grandparents to meet with their children and grandchildren without masks, indoors, for a nice group hug," he tells NBC.
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