Over a year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic changed the daily lives of people around the world. Masks and remaining six feet apart from people became the norm. Now, over a year since the pandemic first hit, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is changing the rules we’ve become accustomed to. On Thursday, the federal agency announced that fully vaccinated people are no longer required to wear masks or practice social distancing.
“If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a White House Covid-19 briefing. “We have all longed for this moment when we can get back to some sense of normalcy.”
The new recommendations apply to both indoor and outdoor environments. However, this announcement does come with a few warnings. According to the CDC’s website, anyone who has a compromised immune system should discuss their options with their doctor. In addition, the new recommendations do not apply in places where the “federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations” are upholding the mask and social distancing mandates. The recommendations are also meant to aid in making decisions about daily activities versus engaging in “healthcare settings.”
The CDC also gave insight on their official site to what fully vaccinated means. The phrase applies to people who are two-weeks post taking Johnson & Johnson’s Jenssen single dose-vaccine. Those who took the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines must wait two weeks after taking the second dose to be considered fully vaccinated.
According to the CDC, COVID-19 vaccines are “effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death.” However, the agency is still learning about the vaccine’s length of effectiveness, effectiveness against variants of the virus and effectiveness in people with compromised immune systems.
As previously reported, the CDC updated their guidelines about mask-wearing in April. At the time, they stated that fully vaccinated people no longer had to wear masks outdoors, unless they were in large crowds. These new recommendations are a step forward in returning to normalcy.
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