Families who have been longing to gather together for the past year of the coronavirus pandemic are embracing federal health officials’ new guidance for fully vaccinated people.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new recommendations released Monday said people who are fully vaccinated can visit indoors unvaccinated people in one household without masks or social distancing, as long as there is no one present who is unvaccinated and at high-risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms.
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Someone is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second Moderna or Pfizer dose or two weeks after their only Johnson & Johnson shot.
For Dorothy O’Neil, who is in her 90s and has seven great-grandchildren, being able to hug her loved-ones without a mask is “wonderful.” O’Neil will receive her second COVID-19 shot on Wednesday.
“We’re missing our family gatherings. She has six children, so it’s usually one party after the other. But it’s been restricted all along,” O’Neil’s daughter, Denice Higley, said. “It will be much easier, it will be much nicer. I think the whole world will be a much nicer place when we’re all vaccinated.”
The CDC also said vaccinated people who have been exposed to COVID-19 do not have to quarantine or be tested if they are asymptomatic.
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Dr. Sabrina Assoumou, an infectious diseases doctor at Boston Medical Center, told Boston 25 News on Monday that the medical community is hopeful this new guidance will be an incentive for some who have been reluctant to get vaccinated to do so.
“The more you hear stories of families being able to get back together after a year of being apart, this is great news, and hopefully people are going to see that this is all going to allow us to get to the new normal,” Dr. Assoumou said. “And seeing glimpses of what the new normal is going to look like is hopefully going to encourage additional people to get vaccinated.”
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