The CDC in America has published guidelines for what you can and cannot do when you have been fully vaccinated.
Here in the United Kingdom we must abide by the guidelines as set out by the Government and Public Health England.
It is, however, interesting to review what the CDC in America is suggesting following full vaccination.
Unlike the UK where geographical areas have been placed into lockdown, the CDC recommends that fully vaccinated individuals are able to safely gather indoors with other fully vaccinated individuals without wearing a mask.
This has been as a result of the increasing evidence that fully vaccinated individuals are less likely to have asymptomatic infection and to transmit SARS-CoV-2 to others.
However, in contrast, the CDC recommends that fully vaccinated individuals can only gather indoors and unmasked with unvaccinated people if they are from only one other household and no one is at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
The CDC still recommends taking COVID-19 precautions such as wearing a mask in public, avoiding gatherings with unvaccinated people from multiple households and other medium to large size gatherings and delaying travel.
Following a confirmed COVID-19 exposure, the CDC recommends that fully vaccinated individuals should still isolate themselves if they experience symptoms but do not need to quarantine or be tested if they remain asymptomatic.
An individual has been considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two dose series or two weeks after a single dose vaccine such as the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
So what has changed from their advice? If you fully are vaccinated:
- You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
- 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 have been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms. However, there is a proviso that if you live in a group setting and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested even if you do not have symptoms. This applies to homes or care homes and detention facilities.
What has not changed? They still suggest:
- Wearing a mask.
- 2 metre rule.
- Avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces particularly whenever in public.
- Gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one other household.
- Visiting with an unvaccinated person who is at increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 who lives or who lives with at person increased risk.
- Avoiding medium or large sized gatherings.
- Delaying domestic and international travel, suggesting that CDC requirements and recommendations should still be followed.
- If you get symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you have been around someone who is sick, they suggest getting tested and staying and isolating.
This is clearly an evolving area and The London General Practice looks forward to all populations being vaccinated and being able to resume normal social interaction.
Dr Paul Ettlinger
BM, DRCOG, FRCGP, FRIPH, DOccMed