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The CDC released new guidelines today saying that if you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you can safely visit with other vaccinated people without masks. This is great news for friends and families who have been missing each other during the pandemic. So, if you and your parent are both fully vaccinated, which is defined as two weeks after your second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after the one-shot dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you can safely go in for that hug with your mom.

Vaccinated individuals can also safely visit with small groups of unvaccinated people if they are from the same household and are at low risk for severe cases of COVID-19, says the CDC.

The new guidelines come as the warmer weather will begin and people have reached the one-year mark of being distanced from their families and having their children out of full-time school.

“COVID-19 continues to exert a tremendous toll on our nation. Like you, I want to be able to return to everyday activities and engage with our friends, families, and communities,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at the White House briefing Monday. “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.”

There is some evidence that people who are vaccinated don’t spread COVID-19, but it will be a while before scientists fully understand how long they have protection. This means vaccinated individuals still need to play it safe around people who haven’t gotten the vaccine, especially if they are at higher risk for severe complications.

Fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic

For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:

  • Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing
  • Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
  • Wear masks, maintain physical distance and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households
  • Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Follow guidance issued by individual employers
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations

The CDC has not changed its recommendation to avoid travel, but if you and your friend are both vaccinated you can have a meal together.

Being vaccinated doesn’t mean you can throw caution to the wind and attend large gatherings or not wear a mask out in public, but it is a step in a positive direction.

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