Many people hope so got a Covid-19 vaccine marks an immediate return to normal: no more masks, no more distancing, safe indoor dinner parties and big hugs with friends.

The reality is more complicated. Right now, people who took their pictures have to control decision-making in a world where vaccinated and unvaccinated people live together for months, even within the same household.

So what should you do and what not? The USA The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines Monday. Fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with others who are also fully vaccinated without taking any extra precautions, according to the CDC. And vaccinated people can congregate with another unvaccinated family without a mask or distancing, as long as the unvaccinated members are healthy and there is no risk of developing a more serious case of Covid-19. However, the CDC urged fully vaccinated people to continue to take precautions in public, as well as at medium or large private gatherings.

“There are some activities where fully vaccinated people can now be resumed in the privacy of their own four walls,” said CDC director Rochelle Walensky. “Everyone – including those who are vaccinated – should continue with all mitigation strategies in public facilities.”

The CDC and most experts agree that until we are closer to herd immunity – when a significant majority of the population is protected by vaccinations or natural infections to keep the virus from spreading easily – wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding overcrowded indoor gatherings should be standard public practice. The CDC guidelines note that increasing evidence suggests that vaccinated individuals may be less likely to transmit the virus through asymptomatic infections. However, there are also unanswered questions about the duration of protection of the vaccines and the effect of newly emerging variants.

“Especially in those months when the vaccination rate is low, we still get to know the variants and we still need to know about this forwarding. The public health report is really there to help maintain these behaviors, ”said Chris Beyrer, professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Until we’re out of there. We’re not out yet. “

A paramedic shows his vaccination card.


chandan khanna / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images

Here are recommendations from scientists for assessing the risks.

Is it okay for people who have been vaccinated to meet with other people who have been vaccinated?

The CDC guidelines and experts agree that after full vaccination – at least two weeks after your second dose of the


or Moderna vaccines or the single

Johnson & Johnson

Shot – it’s safe to hang out with other fully vaccinated people indoors, with no masks or distance.

Meeting other people who have been vaccinated is “scientifically very safe,” said Paul E. Sax, clinical director of the infectious diseases division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Nothing is 100% effective, but “meeting other vaccinated people is damn close,” he says.

“I don’t think people should walk to a crowded bar where people are yelling at each other,” he says. “But the kind of sociability that is part of human nature and that has been put on hold for many people – that can be resumed.”

The larger the group, the riskier the interaction, as you cannot verify that everyone is vaccinated and not know how high their exposure is, says Leana Wen, emergency doctor and public health professor at George Washington University in Washington, DC “I’m talking to another couple, or maybe two other couples at most,” says Dr. Whom. The CDC guidelines state that precautions such as wearing masks and social distancing should be taken for medium and large gatherings despite the vaccination status of individuals.

Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease doctor and professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, is less conservative and says that there should be no limit to the size of congregations for those who are fully vaccinated. “You can have dinner parties. You can go to restaurants. You can go to the cinema, ”she says. However, she notes that even vaccinated people in these public facilities must follow mask and distancing requirements until we achieve herd immunity.

What if the adults are vaccinated but the children are not?

There is currently no approved vaccine for children and adolescents under 16 years of age. “This is going to be one of the issues families have to grapple with and be careful with,” says Dr. Beyrer.

The CDC guidelines state that people who are fully vaccinated can walk indoors with another unvaccinated household without wearing masks or maintaining social distance if the unvaccinated people are at low risk of severe Covid-19.

According to Dr. Sax, there is a significant difference between young children and teenagers or teenagers in terms of both virus transmission and disease. Teenagers receive and transmit Covid-19 similarly to young adults, while younger children do not get symptomatic illnesses as often and do not appear to transmit as much. “Every family and group of friends will make decisions based on their own risk tolerance,” says Dr. Sax.

Immune-weakened people and their families should be more careful as vaccines may generally be less effective on them, says Dr. Sax.

Dr. Wen says she recommends families continue to take precautions during play dates if the adults are vaccinated but the children are not. “If these families are connected to other families as well, it is a risky scenario that I would not recommend at the moment,” says Dr. Wen of indoor gatherings. “They could be an asymptomatic carrier who then passes them on to their children. And if the kids are in school or daycare, this could spread further. “

Can a fully vaccinated family without a mask meet with unvaccinated people indoors?

The CDC guidelines say yes they can, as long as the unvaccinated people come from a household and don’t have any risk factors that put them at risk of developing severe Covid-19.

Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Vaccine Research Group in Rochester, Minnesota, says this could be potentially risky as unvaccinated individuals may not disclose their medical risks and may not even be aware they have them. There isn’t a lot of data on the effectiveness of the vaccine in people who are very old, receiving chemotherapy, or who are immunocompromised, he notes.

What’s the latest on whether vaccinated people can spread the virus to unvaccinated people?

Current studies found that vaccination reduced asymptomatic infection by more than 80% compared to unvaccinated individuals and the nose The viral load is low and may not be infectioussays Dr. Gandhi. However, other experts say the evidence is preliminary and more conclusive evidence is needed. And new variants raise additional questions about the effectiveness of the vaccine.

What activities should I prioritize after vaccination?

Schedule any routine medical and health appointments that you’ve postponed, says Dr. Whom. Get your colonoscopy, mammogram, or teeth cleaning. Schedule elective surgery. “You should do something like this again because you are well protected,” says Dr. Whom.

What about travel?

The CDC guidelines have not updated the travel recommendations. Once you’re vaccinated, travel is less of a risk, says Dr. Whom, as well as staying in a hotel or visiting restaurants, as long as you follow safety protocols. But continue to be careful about how you interact with people when you get to your destination, she says, especially if they aren’t vaccinated or live in an area with high transmission rates.

Is it safe for my elderly parents to travel to visit?

Dr. Wen says that fully vaccinated people, including healthy grandparents, should be encouraged to travel as long as they take appropriate precautions, such as: B. wearing masks in public. “The trip itself is very low-risk,” says Dr. Whom. “If you follow precautions like wearing a mask, the risk of contracting the coronavirus and passing it on to the rest of the family is extremely small and the benefits are enormous. People are excited about their families. “

But still weigh the specifics of your situation. If you have an unvaccinated older teenager and a frail, older grandparent, you should consider additional precautions, says Dr. Poland.

Which activities have a lower and higher risk even after vaccination?

People who have been vaccinated may feel comfortable engaging in quiet indoor activities that generally require people to be masked and detached, such as walking around. B. visiting a not overcrowded museum, says Dr. Sax. Outdoor activities are even safer.

Higher risk situations include indoor restaurants, bars, gyms, and places of worship where people are singing and talking. “We don’t want to go beyond the limits of what vaccines can do before the case numbers drop,” says Dr. Sax. He and his wife, the doctor, are both fully vaccinated, but only eat in restaurants when the number of cases and hospital stays are significantly lower, he says.

Paris and Singapore airports, as well as airlines like United and JetBlue, are experimenting with apps that ensure travelers are Covid-free before boarding. WSJ visits an airport in Rome to see how a digital health passport works. Photo credit: AOKpass

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