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CDC issues new recommendations for fully vaccinated people

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New federal COVID-19 guidelines released on Monday say that it is okay now for fully vaccinated Americans to gather indoors with other vaccinated individuals without masks or social distancing.

With a small group of fully vaccinated Americans having grown since January, so have calls for new guidance for such people. Monday’s guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the first for fully vaccinated people.

“With more and more people vaccinated each day, we are starting to turn a corner,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky at a White House COVID-19 press briefing Monday morning, announcing the new guidance.

“The recommendations issued today are just a first step,” Walensky said. “Fully vaccinated people can visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or physical distancing.”

RELATED: CDC Director: Vaccinating teachers ‘not a prerequisite’ for safely reopening schools

However, the CDC director added, it’s important for vaccinated people to “please keep wearing a well-fitting mask” in most other settings.

Along with that, the CDC is continuing to recommend that fully vaccinated individuals keep avoiding large gatherings and practicing social distancing.

Furthermore, the CDC is saying that vaccinated individuals should get tested if they notice they have symptoms possibly related to COVID-19.

Officials say a person is deemed fully vaccinated two weeks after getting the second and final dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines and two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Around 9% of Americans, which is about 30 million people, have been fully vaccinated so far with a COVID-19 vaccine authorized by the federal government, according to the CDC.

Aside from it being deemed safe for fully vaccinated people to gather indoors with others who are vaccinated, the new guidelines said that such individuals can also 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” and refrain “from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic”.

On top of all that, the new guidance said that fully vaccinated grandparents can now visit their unvaccinated children and grandchildren, though with some caveats.

“Fully vaccinated grandparents can visit indoors with their unvaccinated healthy daughter and her healthy children without wearing masks or physical distancing, provided none of the unvaccinated family members are at risk of severe COVID-19,” the guidance said.

However, those kinds of no-mask interactions should only be limited to one unvaccinated household for safety reasons.

“Continuing the example from above, if fully vaccinated grandparents are visiting with their unvaccinated daughter and her children and the daughter’s unvaccinated neighbors also come over, the visit should then take place outdoors, wearing well-fitted masks, and maintaining physical distance (at least 6 feet),” the guidance added. “This is due to the risk the two unvaccinated households pose to one another.”

Although, Walensky said that the CDC has not updated its travel guidance yet.

“We would like to give the opportunity for vaccinated grandparents to visit their children and grandchildren who are healthy, and who are local, but our travel guidance currently has been unchanged,” the CDC director said Monday, emphasizing that “the travel corridor is a place where people are mixing a lot,” and that COVID-19 strains are circulating, both domestically and internationally.

“We’re hopeful that our next set of guidance will have more science around what vaccinated people can do, perhaps travel being among them,” Walensky also said.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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American and Southwest stand by vaccine mandate, despite Abbott’s ban

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American Airlines and Southwest Airlines are still planning to comply with President Biden’s executive order regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. The order requires all their employees to be vaccinated by Dec. 8t. As a result, they will be ignoring Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s ban on vaccine mandates.

Abbott announced his own executive order, effectively banning mandates even from private employers, on Tuesday. “In another instance of federal overreach, the Biden Administration is now bullying many private entities into imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, causing workforce disruptions that threaten Texas’ continued recovery from the COVID-19 disaster,” Abbott said. “The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced.”

Yet both airlines are requiring their employees to be vaccinated by Nov. 24. This comes despite Southwest’s impromptu cancellation of over 2,000 flights over the weekend. At the time, the airline blamed the cancellations on air traffic control and weather conditions. However, SaraACarter.com was unable to verify that any other airline had to cancel near as many flights for the same reasons. This has left many to speculate that Southwest actually cancelled flights due to their employees walking out as a direct result of the mandate.

Reporter Jack Posobiec tweeted out a flyer circulating among the anti-vaxx Southwest employees. Currently, they are planning a protest outside of Southwest headquarters next Monday. The protest will be called “Freedom Not Force.”

Southwest told Reuters it “would be expected to comply with the President’s Order to remain compliant as a federal contractor.” In addition, American similarly said Abbott’s order does not change anything.

You can follow Jenny Goldsberry on Twitter @jennyjournalism.

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