Q&A: What you can and can’t do once you’re fully vaccinated, according to guidelines

People are still sorting out what the new Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines mean for what they can and cannot do once they are fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Officials say a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last required dose of vaccine.

[SPECIAL SECTION: COVID-19 Vaccine in Georgia]

It is encouraging news for many Georgians especially as vaccination opportunities expand across the state. That includes FEMA’s site being set up at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the five new state-ran sites opening up on March 17.

Is it a greenlight to return to pre-pandemic life or just the first step? Channel 2 Action News went to experts to answer your questions.

Q: When can I start to visit other people again?

The CDC says that people who are fully vaccinated can start visiting indoors with other fully vaccinated people or low-risk loved ones without masks or social distancing. People can start following those new guidelines two weeks after receiving their second dose.

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The CDC still urges caution in public. It said vaccinated people should wear masks and socially distance when out and about or among people who are high-risk.

Q: What should I do if I am fully vaccinated, but exposed to COVID-19?

The new guidance this week also allows fully vaccinated people to step back from testing and quarantine following a known COVID-19 exposure. That’s as long as they don’t have symptoms.

The CDC still warns against exposure around people whose status you can’t confirm.

Q: Can I start traveling again?

The CDC guidelines said that non-essential travel regardless of vaccination should still be off the board. The airline and business industries want the White House to push back against this guideline.

The industries are asking President Biden’s administration to establish temporary travel credentials that allow travelers to show they’ve been tested and vaccinated without making vaccinations a requirement for domestic or international travel.

Experts say we still need to know more about efficacy to move in that direction.

“I think airplanes have done pretty well in terms of masking and keeping the middle seats open. But as we learn more and more will open up. The wild card, of course, are the variants and not knowing exactly to what extent the current vaccines protect against their variants,” Georgia State professor Dr. Michael P. Eriksen said.

Q: As more people get vaccinated, how close are we to herd immunity?

Eriksen said that only 10% of Americans are fully vaccinated. Experts say that figure needs to get to 75% to 80% fully vaccinated or naturally immune folks carrying antibodies to reach herd immunity.

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