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'Another major step back to normalcy' | Explaining what the new CDC guidelines mean for you

Someone is considered "fully vaccinated" when it's been at least two weeks since they got their last shot.

NORTH CAROLINA, USA — Our state has given out millions of coronavirus vaccines in the last few months - and more than million people are already fully vaccinated. 

Someone is considered "fully vaccinated" when it's been at least two weeks since they got the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot, or two weeks since they got their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna.

So, what can these people do now, that they couldn't do a month ago?

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the first set of guidelines on how fully vaccinated people can safely visit with others. Dr. John Sanders, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Wake Forest Baptist Health calls these recommendations - cautious. 

"This is a great step forward," he said, "This is another major step back to normalcy, but I also think that these are cautious recommendations and that we should recognize that they took out a cautious step - and we should expect more and more good news coming out in the next couple of weeks."

RELATED: VERIFY: What do the CDC's updated COVID guidelines for fully vaccinated people say?

According to this new guidance, top health leaders with the CDC say once you're fully vaccinated you 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

"If grandma and grandpa wanted to get together with their kids and grandkids, and their kids and grandkids do not have health problems, they could do that - the CDC has said yeah - that's fine, go ahead," Sanders explained.

Topics like loosening travel restrictions and group size have not yet been addressed, and even if you're fully vaccinated, health leaders still encourage wearing a mask and social distancing in public. But, Dr. Sanders expects we'll likely hear more soon.

"The CDC Director was very clear in her announcement that this will change, and we can expect it's likely to change for the better!" he said, "As we get more vaccines rolling out, and have more production, we are going to see loosening restrictions."

Read more about these guidelines by clicking here.