The CDC has relaxed restrictions for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19. File photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo
March 8 (UPI) -- People fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors, without wearing masks or staying six feet apart if everyone gathered is at low risk for severe disease, according to guidelines released Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
They also will not need to quarantine and or get tested for the virus after having contact with someone who has COVID-19, unless they start having symptoms, the agency said.
"We know that people want to get vaccinated so they can get back to doing the things they enjoy with the people they love," CDC director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky said in a statement.
"There are some activities that fully vaccinated people can begin to resume now in their own homes," she said.
A "growing body of scientific evidence" indicates that fully vaccinated people are less likely to get infected and pass the virus to others, according to the CDC.
Therefore, they "can safely take fewer precautions in certain situations," the agency said.
About 31 million people in the United States, or about 9% of the population, have been fully vaccinated against the virus, meaning they have received both doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, according to the agency.
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last required dose of vaccine, it said.
A single-dose vaccine, from Johnson & Johnson, has been available since last week.
Although the agency described the somewhat relaxed restrictions for fully vaccinated people as a "positive step," the vast majority of people across the country still need to be fully vaccinated before pandemic-related precautions "can be lifted broadly."
As a result, it is still important that "everyone continues to adhere to public health mitigation measures to protect the large number of people who remain unvaccinated," including wearing face coverings in public, avoiding large gatherings and maintaining social distancing, the CDC said.
In addition, CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people continue to wear well-fitted masks, stay at least six feet from people they do not live with, avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings and get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms "when in public, when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple other households and when around unvaccinated people high risk for severe illness."
"Everyone -- even those who are vaccinated -- should continue with all mitigation strategies when in public settings," Walensky said.
"As the science evolves and more people get vaccinated, we will continue to provide more guidance to help fully vaccinated people safely resume more activities," she said.