As COVID-19 vaccine reaches 90 million Americans, CDC presents updated guidelines

The Biden administration has now established its foundation for getting through the pandemic including passing the ARP and vaccinating the most vulnerable populations in the US. As more people are getting vaccinated, the protocols around movement going forward were outlined by White House health officials. 

Andy Slavitt, Biden’s acting health administrator, said that the plan is to still have enough vaccines ready for every American by the end of May, but it will take massive operations efforts to turn those vaccines into vaccinations. 

Now that a majority of healthcare workers and elderly individuals are vaccinated, the next group includes a movement towards creating distribution sites for teachers and people in hard-hit zip codes.

Although the end is in sight, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the current Director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, emphasized that the situation is still dire with 59,000 cases and 2,000 deaths still per day.

Dr. Walensky said that “there are some activities that fully vaccinated people can resume at low risk to themselves.” She also made note that even those who are fully vaccinated can still have a mild or asymptomatic form of the virus and can in fact still transmit the disease. 

“Understanding the size of this risk in vaccinated people and the risk of transmitting the virus to others who are not vaccinated is an ongoing area of research,” said Walensky. 

Walensky also presented guidelines for vaccinated individuals. “The CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people can visit with other fully vaccinated people in small gatherings indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.”

If someone is unvaccinated, they can visit with vaccinated people of the same household, indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing if they are not at high risk for a severe case of the COVID-19 virus. If the unvaccinated people are of different households, however, they should be wearing masks and social distancing outdoors or in a well-ventilated space. 

Fully vaccinated people do not need to quarantine or get tested if they have been exposed to someone with the COVID-19 virus, but if they are experiencing symptoms of the virus, they should call their doctor. 

Overall, the CDC still recommends that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people avoid medium and large gatherings, avoiding travel both domestically and internationally, continue to social distance, and continue to wear well-fitted masks.

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