People who are fully vaccinated can safely make private visits to unvaccinated people at low risk for severe COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced today in much-anticipated guidelines for vaccinated people.
In the guideline, the CDC considers people fully vaccinated if they have waited two weeks after their second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or the Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. While it is still possible for fully vaccinated people to contract the pandemic coronavirus, have an asymptomatic or mild infection, and potentially spread the virus, the risk is considered low.
Once people are fully vaccinated, they can meet in private indoor settings – such as a home – with other fully vaccinated people without masks and without physical distance.
Fully vaccinated people can also meet in closed indoor environments with not vaccinated people without masks and without physical distancing – if those unvaccinated people come from a single household and they have NO increased risk of severe COVID-19. That means unvaccinated people who are under the age of 65 and don’t have any underlying medical conditions that put them at higher risk, such as cancer, heart disease or diabetes.
“Here’s an example,” CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky said in a White House news conference Monday. “If grandparents are vaccinated, they can visit their daughter and her family even if they have not been vaccinated, as long as the daughter and her family are not at risk of serious illness.”
If an unvaccinated individual at high risk of serious illness comes into the mix at any time (if they are present for the visit or absent during the visit, but live in an involved household), everyone – including the fully vaccinated people – keep wearing masks, keep a physical distance and meet in a well-ventilated outdoor area.
Likewise, when fully vaccinated people meet unvaccinated people from multiple households — regardless of risk status — everyone should be masked, kept at a distance and gathered outside in a well-ventilated area to avoid spreading to unvaccinated.
Finally, fully vaccinated people do not need to be quarantined or tested for COVID-19 if they have known exposure to an infected person but have no symptoms of COVID-19.
While the new directive eases restrictions in these specific private settings, the CDC has stuck to restrictions on travel and in public settings. That means fully vaccinated people should still avoid gatherings and non-essential travel, as well as wear masks and keep physical distance in public places.
“COVID-19 continues to take a huge toll on our nation,” Walensky said. “Like you, I want to be able to return to daily activities and connect with our friends, families and communities.”
While many families will be happy with today’s guidance, “it’s not our final destination,” she added. “As more people get vaccinated, levels of COVID-19 infection in communities are declining, and as our understanding of COVID immunity improves, we look forward to updating these recommendations to the public.”