CDC issues guidelines for the fully vaccinated 

by Eric Rzeszutko

Yesterday, Mar. 8, the Centers for Disease Control issued its first set of guidelines for those that are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

According to the CDC, those who are fully vaccinated are able to: 

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart. 
  • Visit with unvaccinated people from one other household indoors without wearing masks or staying 6 feet apart if everyone in the other household is at low risk for severe disease.
  • Refrain from quarantine and testing if they do not have symptoms of COVID-19 after contact with someone who has COVID-19.

The CDC outlines these guidances based on a separate science brief explaining:

  • Vaccinations against COVID-19 are effective at preventing severe disease. 
  • Preliminary evidence suggesting prevention across new variants such as the B.1.1.7 strain of COVID-19.
  • Growing evidence showing people vaccinated are less likely to experience asymptomatic cases that would transmit SARS-CoV-2.
  • Modeling studies suggest preventative measures of masking and social distancing to continue, with a balanced approach that allows vaccinated people to resume some lower-risk activities.
  • Steps toward relaxing certain measures for vaccinated persons may help improve COVID-19 vaccine acceptance and uptake.
  • Benefits of relaxing some measures such as quarantine requirements and reducing social isolation may outweigh the residual risk of fully vaccinated people becoming ill with COVID-19 or transmitting the virus to others. The risks of SARS-VoV-2 infection in fully vaccinated people cannot be completely eliminated as long as there is continued community transmission of the virus making those who are vaccinated still left with the potential to get COVID-19 and spread it to others. 

The CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people continue to take the following COVID-19 precautions when in public, visiting unvaccinated people from multiple households, and when around unvaccinated people who are at high risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19:

  • Wear a well-fitted mask
  • Stay at least 6 feet away from people you do not live with.
  • 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. 

“We know that people want to get vaccinated so they can get back to doing the things they enjoy with the people they love,” said CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH. “There are some activities that fully vaccinated people can begin to resume now in their own homes. Everyone – even those who are vaccinated – should continue with all mitigation strategies when in public settings. As the science evolves and more people get vaccinated, we will continue to provide more guidance to help fully vaccinated people safely resume more activities.”