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April 2021

Fully vaccinated? Don't toss the mask and start partying yet

April 7, 2021

For the fortunate number of people who have had their last dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, AARP's health experts and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (COD) have published 10 specific guidelines to follow, keeping in mind the majority of Americans have yet to be vaccinated.

"Precautions continue to be necessary to protect yourself and the people around you," cautioned health writer Michelle Crouch in a report for AARP. Fully vaccinated people could still catch COVID-19 (but the vaccine will prevent dying and hospitalizations), and they could infect non-vaccinated individuals (research is ongoing). The virus can't mutate if it is not spreading.

A return to normal hinges on herd immunity, the health experts emphasize. Among other recommendations are continued mask wearing and keeping your vaccine card handy. Not only does the card confirm when and which vaccine you received, it is also the go-to record in case a booster dose is required.

Gathering with others who are fully vaccinated is okay, but the CDC recommends avoiding medium-size and large gathers, and still discourages travel.

In explaining why travel should be avoided, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky stated, "Every time that there's a surge in travel, we have a surge in cases in this country. We know that many of our variants have emerged from international places, and we know that the travel corridor is a place where people are mixing a lot. We are really trying to restrain travel at this current period of time, and we're hopeful that our next set of guidance will have more science around what vaccinated people can do, perhaps travel being among them."

CDC will continue to evaluate and update public health recommendations for vaccinated people as more information, including on new variants, becomes available.

For AARP's list of "10 things the fully vaccinated need to know," click here.