Just because you received the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t mean you’re fully in the clear to travel the world and hang out with large groups of people. While nations across the globe work to obtain herd immunity, the CDC released a list of guidelines for those who have been vaccinated. There are still precautions to consider.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued suggestions for the growing population of fully vaccinated people. “There are some activities that fully vaccinated people can begin to resume now in the privacy of their own homes,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky confirmed, as noted by The Wall Street Journal. “Everyone—even those who are vaccinated—should continue with all mitigation strategies when in public settings.”
While they encouraged the vaccinated community to continue taking precautions when out in public or gathering with groups of people, the CDC noted that those who are vaccinated can gather in groups without wearing masks or social distancing. Additionally, vaccinated people can be around at least one other unvaccinated family member without masks and distancing as long as the unvaccinated person is healthy and not at risk for developing a more serious case of COVID-19. According to the CDC, vaccinated people are 80% less likely of catching or spreading an asymptomatic case of COVID-19. However, there are still questions about the vaccines’ effectiveness against emerging strains.
Though good news is on the horizon, the CDC says that everyone should continue wearing masks, social distancing, and avoiding large indoor gatherings. “Particularly for these several months where immunization coverage is low, we’re still learning about the variants, and we still need to know about this onward transmission, the public health messaging really is to maintain these behaviors,” says Chris Beyrer, a professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Until we get out of this. We’re not out of it yet.”
Paul E. Sax, clinical director of the division of infectious diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, confirms that gatherings among vaccinated people are “scientifically very safe.” However, he noted the importance of avoiding large indoor crowds. “I don’t think people should run to a crowded bar where people are shouting at each other,” he explained. “But the kind of socializing that is part of human nature and that has been put on hold for a lot of people—that can resume.”
Continue to proceed with caution at restaurants, bars, gyms, and houses of worship, where large groups of people have their mouths open indoors. “We don’t want to push the limits of what the vaccines can do before case numbers drop,” Dr. Sax said. As we move toward herd immunity, continue to take necessary precautions even if you have been fully vaccinated.