Whether we’re ready or not: summer is approaching! The days are getting warmer, tourists will return, and plans are being made. Amongst all of this, vaccines are being rapidly distributed. The CDC recently put out a statement on what the new guidelines are when it comes to socializing in the pandemic.
First, people are only considered fully vaccinated “2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine,” according to the CDC. If you are not fully vaxed, keep following these precautions.
Here are the things you CAN do once fully vaccinated:
*You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying six feet apart.
*You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people of any age from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks or staying 6 feet apart, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
*You can gather or conduct activities outdoors without wearing a mask except in certain crowded settings and venues.
*If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel. (But pay attention to international requirements and abide by those as well.)
*If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
Here are more tips and recommendation for behaviors to continue to do once fully vaccinated:
You should still protect yourself and others in many situations by wearing a mask that fits snugly. Take this precaution whenever you are:
- In indoor public settings
- Gathering indoors with unvaccinated people (including children) from more than one other household
- Visiting indoors with an unvaccinated person who is at increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 or who lives with a person at increased risk
*You should still avoid indoor large gatherings.
*If you travel, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others. You will still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Fully vaccinated international travelers arriving in the United States are still required to get tested within three days of their flight (or show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months) and should still get tested 3-5 days after their trip.
*You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
*People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken the immune system, should talk to their healthcare provider to discuss their activities. They may need to keep taking all precautions to prevent COVID-19.
I think this is exciting news, since in the U.S., things are beginning to look up with a comprehensive vaccine rollout on the horizon. However, third world countries and some Eastern regions are struggling with case loads because of vaccine disparities. In other words, the West is somewhat hogging the vaccines, so ensuring that every person in every country has the opportunity to receive one if they wish is a priority on my mind recently. I will most likely keep my mask on in public, seeing as I feel adjusted and protected with it on! Things aren’t quite back to normal yet, but here’s to hoping for a Chi City summer!
By Leah Ollie, Senior, Whitney Young Magnet High School