The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is updating its guidance to say that fully vaccinated people can forgo their masks and social distancing in many indoor situations. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announced the new guidance during a White House COVID-19 briefing.
“Today, CDC is updating our guidance for fully vaccinated people,” Walensky said. “Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large our small, without wearing a mask or fully vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things you have stopped doing because of the pandemic. We have all longed for this moment, when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”
Anyone who is vaccinated but develops symptoms should mask up and get tested, she warned. Walensky also warned that there’s always a chance the pandemic situation could worsen, and the nation may need to return to pieces of the earlier guidance. The move comes shortly after the CDC said fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks outdoors.
The guidance doesn’t apply to health care settings, such as hospitals, doctors’ officials, and long-term care facilities. It also doesn’t apply to correctional facilities or homeless shelters.
The CDC still urges fully vaccinated people to wear well-fitted masks when it is required by federal, state or local laws, as well as by businesses. Masks will still be required on planes, trains and other types of public transportation.
The CDC defines “fully vaccinated” as two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose regimen, like Pfizer or Moderna, and two weeks after a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The news comes as the nation crosses 250 million vaccinations, and heads toward President Biden’s goal of 70% of Americans having at least one dose by July 4.
The Food and Drug Administration recently approved an emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine in 12-to-15-year-olds.