You’ve had your first COVID-19 vaccine, so when will it be safe to toss the facial mask?
The short answer is, not so fast.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today issued recommendations about how vaccinated people can keep themselves and others safe from COVID-19 while the country aims for herd immunity.
The guidance says fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with one another and not wear masks or maintain social distance. However, masks and social distancing are still recommended when going out in public.
The first point from the CDC deals with what it means to be fully vaccinated. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech) or two weeks after the single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson).
The CDC said fully vaccinated people can:
- Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
- Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
- Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic
But fully vaccinated people should also continue to:
- Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing
- Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
- Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households
- Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings
- Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
- Follow guidance issued by individual employers
- Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations
In addition to the CDC guidelines, Kentucky remains under a mask mandate that requires a facial covering at indoor public places and outdoor settings where people cannot maintain at least 6 feet of social distance.
As of Sunday, 830,842 Kentuckians had received a vaccine dose, according to the Cabinet for Health and Family Serves.
The NPR state-by-state tracker reported today that 18.5% of Kentucky residents had received at least one dose and 9.5% had received two doses.
Kentucky is in Phase 1C of the vaccine distribution.