CDC says vaccinated people may go without masks in most situations

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an announcement Thursday afternoon that fully vaccinated individuals may resume activities they did prior to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

An individual is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

The CDC said COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting individuals from getting sick. Agency representatives said based on what they know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

These recommendations are intended to help people make decisions about daily activities after they are fully vaccinated. They are not intended for healthcare settings, the agency said.

The CDC said individuals should still take precautions, follow guidance at workplaces and local businesses, and wear a mask while using public transportation or traveling. If someone develops symptoms of COVID-19, they should get tested and stay home away from others. Patients who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system should discuss their activities with a healthcare provider and may need to take additional precautions to prevent COVID-19.

Editor's note: Click here for more information and ongoing COVID-19 updates for integrative healthcare professionals.