CDC releases new guidelines for individuals who have been fully vaccinated

Graphic+by+Julia+Landy

Graphic by Julia Landy

Ava Steil

Graphic by Julia Landy

On Monday, March 8, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released a new set of guidelines regarding those who have been vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus. On Monday, March 15, the full CDC guidelines will be formally announced at the White House COVID-19 Response Team Briefing. The briefing will be broadcasted across several news stations, including Local 10 News, PBS South Florida News Hour and the official White House site.

The CDC “When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated” page was updated to include the new guidelines set by the organization.

“Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic,” the CDC said on their website.

The most highlighted addition is that fully-vaccinated individuals could congregate in small groups with other fully-vaccinated people, without the usage of masks.

“It may be safe for some [people] because they have [been vaccinated]. But this [would] have an effect on the spread of the virus for those who don’t [have the vaccine],” Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School junior Sidney Jenner said. “COVID[-19] can stay on surfaces for hours, so, personally, I don’t think [vaccinated people gathering] is a good idea for the CDC to announce to the public.”

Another change in the protocol for COVID-19 prevention can be seen in the allowance of vaccinated people who may gather indoors with an unvaccinated household without masks. However, if there is a person within the household that has an increased risk of being infected with COVID-19, then this action should be abstained from.

“If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms,” the CDC said.

The CDC has also provided information on how to identify when a person is fully-vaccinated.

There are two conditions when it comes to being classified as fully-vaccinated. First, the individual has received their second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines two weeks prior. The second is having received a single-dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine two weeks prior. 

“If it has been less than 2 weeks since your shot, or if you still need to get your second dose, you are NOT fully protected,” the CDC said. “Keep taking all prevention steps until you are fully vaccinated.”

While these guidelines do allow people to return to some semblance of normalcy from before the pandemic, over a year ago, precautions should still be taken in some circumstances.  

When in public, the CDC recommends following their guidelines for mask usage and social distancing. People should still avoid medium to large-sized gatherings and delay both domestic and international travel.

“You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick,” the CDC said. “If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.”

The real changes of the guidelines lie mainly in the social interactions between fully-vaccinated individuals. Those who have not been vaccinated should still be following the original guidelines for mask usage, social distancing and avoidance of any-sized crowds.

For more information, visit the CDC website.