Dr. Fauci Says It's Safe for You to Do This Once You're Vaccinated
The COVID adviser just gave the green light for you to do this after getting the vaccine.
The COVID vaccine is already paving the way for post-pandemic life, and if you haven't gotten your shot, your turn may be coming soon. Naturally, the one thing on everyone's mind after getting vaccinated is, "Can I start living my life normally again?" Unfortunately, experts currently advise against throwing all caution to the wind until everyone is vaccinated. However, there may be some wiggle room in terms of what's safe to do for those who have already gotten the coronavirus vaccine. In fact, White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, just gave the green light for one new post-vaccination activity. Read on to find out what Fauci says is safe to do once you're vaccinated, and for more essential guidance, Don't Do This Until a Month After Your COVID Vaccine, Experts Warn.
Fauci says you can hug another vaccinated person once you're vaccinated.
The pandemic has put many of us at a six-foot distance from loved ones, which has been a challenge, to say the least. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns against gestures that promote close contact, like hugging, as this can help spread COVID. But there is good news for those who are vaccinated. According to Fauci, it's safe for you to hug another vaccinated person.
"So, for example, if you're vaccinated and you have a member of your family vaccinated, someone that's not lived with you, can you actually be with them without a mask? Can I sit down and give them a hug and things like that? And the answer is very likely, of course you can," Fauci said during a Feb. 18 interview with MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell. And for more on the future of the pandemic, This Is When the COVID Pandemic Will Be Completely Over, Experts Say.
There is no CDC guidance on vaccinated people gathering yet, however.
During a Feb. 8 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fauci clarified that the CDC has not yet released guidance on what fully vaccinated people can do with other vaccinated people in a group setting. However, he said he believed that this is likely "going to change" and that the CDC will release guidance on what is safe in these situations soon. The CDC did recently update recommendations for vaccinated individuals: On Feb. 10, the agency updated its guidelines to say that vaccinated persons were no longer required to quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Fauci also says you shouldn't let up on restrictions in public.
Getting vaccinated doesn't mean you should go out with someone who is also vaccinated and take off your mask while in a public setting. According to Fauci, the things you can do in public once you're vaccinated and the things you can do in a particular "pod" of vaccinated people are going to be very different.
"If you are vaccinated, and you are with someone who's vaccinated, the things that you can do are much, much more liberal in the sense of pulling back on stringent public health measures, versus when you're out in society," Fauci explained. "You've got to separate it from what you can do in a certain vacuum versus what you can do in society." And for more on mask safety, If You See This on Your Mask, the FDA Says Toss It Immediately.
Fauci says it will take time to vaccinate enough people to lift these public restrictions.
As Fauci explained earlier in December, about 75 percent of Americans need to be vaccinated in order for the country to reach herd immunity—which would mean the virus is so subdued that restrictions can be lifted in public. This will likely take some time, given that only about 5 percent of Americans have been fully vaccinated so far, per NPR. Much of this is due to the fact that not everyone is eligible to get a COVID vaccine right now, as states are rolling out vaccinations in phases—typically going to healthcare workers and nursing home residents first, followed by those with underlying conditions and those 65 and older. As for the general public, Fauci recently pushed back his prediction on when they will be eligible. While he had hoped for "open season" vaccinations in April, during a Feb. 16 interview with CNN, Fauci said that supply issues may push this estimate back to May or June. And to make sure you're staying heathy, The CDC Says Don't Do This Within 2 Weeks of Your COVID Vaccine.