Fully-vaccinated people can gather without masks, CDC says

Coronavirus

BUFFALO N.Y. (WIVB) – People who are fully vaccinated can now gather in small groups indoors, with other vaccinated people, without a mask or social distance.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced new guidance Monday.

The guidance is designed to address a growing demand, as more adults have been getting vaccinated and wondering if it gives them greater freedom to visit family members, travel, or do other things like they did before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world last year.

“I think that they’re good and they’re common sense and there things that those of us who have been fortunate enough to get the vaccine have already started doing,” said Doctor John Crane from UB’s Jacob’s School of Medicine.

“Everybody is waiting on the magic word to say everything is better, you can throw away the masks and just move on and that’s not the way it’s gonna happen,” said Kaleida Health’s infectious disease doctor John Sellick. “It’s going to be a gradual evolution.”

The recommendations also say that vaccinated people can come together in the same way with people considered at low-risk for severe disease, such as in the case of vaccinated grandparents visiting healthy children and grandchildren.

“I think this is going to be a great opportunity for grandparents to finally get back in touch with their grand kids and also with their own kids who we’ve not had a huge amount of physical contact with,” Sellick said.

Those fully vaccinated also don’t have to quarantine or get tested if they’ve been in contact with someone who had COVID-19 but are not showing symptoms.

NEW YORK (AP) — Fully-vaccinated Americans can gather with other vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing, according to long-awaited guidance from federal health officials.

“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 Dr. Rochelle Walensky, in a statement.

The CDC is continuing to recommend that fully vaccinated people continue to wear well-fitted masks, avoid large gatherings, and physically distance themselves from others when out in public. The CDC also advised vaccinated people to get tested if they develop symptoms that could be related to COVID-19.

Officials say a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last required dose of vaccine. About 30 million Americans — or only about 9% of the U.S. population — have been fully vaccinated with a federally authorized COVID-19 vaccine so far, according to the CDC.

Authorized vaccine doses first became available in December, and they were products that required two doses spaced weeks apart. But since January, a small but growing number of Americans have been fully vaccinated, and have been asking questions like: Do I still have to wear a mask? Can I go to a bar now? Can I finally see my grandchildren?

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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