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Medical Assistant Keona Shepard holds up the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine as she prepares to administer it at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center during the mass coronavirus vaccination in New Orleans, in this Thursday, March 4, 2021, file photo. (Chris Granger/The Advocate via AP, File)
MIKE STOBBE AP Medical Writer
Published: 08 March 2021

NEW YORK (AP) — Fully vaccinated Americans can gather with other vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing, according to long-awaited guidance from federal health officials.

The recommendations also say that vaccinated people can come together in the same way with people considered at low-risk for severe disease, such as in the case of vaccinated grandparents visiting healthy children and grandchildren.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the guidance Monday.

The guidance is designed to address a growing demand, as more adults have been getting vaccinated and wondering if it gives them greater freedom to visit family members, travel, or do other things like they did before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the world last year.

cdc vaccination guidance carIn this March 2, 2021, file photo, Vanessa Guerra, at right, a special education teacher at Grant Elementary School in Hollywood, receives a shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Kelly Mendoza at a site for employees of the Los Angeles school district in the parking lot of SOFI Stadium in Inglewood, Calif. Cities and states are rapidly expanding access to vaccines as the nation races to head off a resurgence in coronavirus infections and reopen schools and businesses battered by the pandemic. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
“We know that people want to get vaccinated so they can get back to doing the things they enjoy with the people they love,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, in a statement.

The CDC is continuing to recommend that fully vaccinated people continue to wear well-fitted masks, avoid large gatherings, and physically distance themselves from others when out in public. The CDC also advised vaccinated people to get tested if they develop symptoms that could be related to COVID-19.

Officials say a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last required dose of vaccine. About 30 million Americans — or only about 9% of the U.S. population — have been fully vaccinated with a federally authorized COVID-19 vaccine so far, according to the CDC.

Authorized vaccine doses first became available in December, and they were products that required two doses spaced weeks apart. But since January, a small but growing number of Americans have been fully vaccinated, and have been asking questions like: Do I still have to wear a mask? Can I go to a bar now? Can I finally see my grandchildren?

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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