NEW GUIDELINES: Vaccinated individuals can gather without masks indoors, says CDC

NEW GUIDELINES: Vaccinated individuals can gather without masks indoors, says CDC
(PHOTO: OLESIA BILKEI VIA SHUTTERSTOCK)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said yesterday that people who have been fully vaccinated can begin to do some of the things they have been limited or prevented from doing since last year, including gathering with other vaccinated people without wearing a mask or social distancing.

This is the CDC’s first set of public health guidelines for people vaccinated against COVID-19.

“If you’ve been fully vaccinated, you can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask,” the CDC wrote in its publication.

“You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household — for example, visiting with relatives who all live together — without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

“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.

“However, if you live in a group setting like a correctional or detention facility or group home and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.”

The Bahamas is expected to receive a donation of 20,000 COVID-19 vaccines from the Indian government on Wednesday, representing the first batch of vaccines to arrive in the country.

According to Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, the nation will receive 33,600 doses of Oxford’s AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX Facility before the end of the month, with another 64,200 doses expected by the end of May.

The CDC said COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting people from getting sick, but agencies were still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of the virus.

Notwithstanding the adjusted guidelines for gatherings among vaccinated individuals, the CDC maintained that precautions should be followed in public places even after full vaccination.

This includes wearing a mask in public, staying six feet apart from others and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.

It also maintained that all health precautions should be maintained when gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one other household; and visiting 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.

The organization also maintained that medium to large gatherings should still be avoided.

 

Data

According to the CDC, while early data shows COVID-19 vaccines work against some variants of the virus, it could be less effective against others.

It encouraged precautionary measures even as vaccines are being distributed.

“We’re still learning how long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people,” the CDC said.

“As we know more, CDC will continue to update our recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.”