People who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing masks or social distancing, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

But fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks in public, the CDC said in its first set of public health recommendations on vaccinated people.

The CDC said those who are fully vaccinated can visit indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 without wearing masks or social distancing.

Fully vaccinated people can also refrain from quarantine and testing after a known exposure providing they remain asymptomatic, the CDC said.

The guidance is based on the latest available science and represents a first step toward returning to everyday activities, the agency said.

Recommendations

The CDC said it will update the recommendations as more people become vaccinated, COVID-19 positivity rates fall, and more scientific evidence becomes available.

“We know that people want to get vaccinated so they can get back to doing the things they enjoy with the people they love,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

“Everyone—even those who are vaccinated—should continue with all mitigation strategies  when in public settings.”

A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving a vaccine dose.

For those receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, that’s two weeks after the second shot.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is one dose, so those who receive it are considered fully vaccinated two weeks later.

Precautions

The CDC said the majority of Americans need to be fully vaccinated before COVID-19 precautions can be lifted.

As of March 8, less than 10% of the population was fully vaccinated.

“Until then, it is important that everyone continues to adhere to public health mitigation measures to protect the large number of people who remain unvaccinated,” the agency said.

In Connecticut, where about 9% of the population is fully vaccinated and 24% has received at least one dose, Gov. Ned Lamont announced he will loosen some coronavirus restrictions beginning March 19.

But he urged Connecticut residents to keep their guard up.

“I think we’re finding what works is wearing the mask, social distancing, and vaccinations,” Lamont said.

Risk Factor

The CDC also noted that once you are vaccinated, your risk for contracting the virus drops dramatically.

“Indoor visits between fully vaccinated people and unvaccinated people who do not wear masks or physically distance from one another are likely low risk for the vaccinated people,” the agency noted.

That’s why the agency is urging those who haven’t been vaccinated to maintain COVID protocols.

“The level of precautions taken should be determined by the characteristics of the unvaccinated people, who remain unprotected against COVID-19,” it said.