CDC releases first guidelines for fully vaccinated people

By Diana Fedinec
March 10, 2021

Grandparents vaccinated against COVID-19 can finally see their grandchildren. According to new guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) March 8, 2021, people who are fully vaccinated are now able to participate in small indoor gatherings without masks with individuals who are also fully vaccinated. Small group size means ten or less individuals.

CDC considers people fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their sconed does in a 2-dose series, like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

If it has been less than 2 weeks since receiving a vaccine, or if you still need to get a second dose, you are not considered fully vaccinated.

How does being fully vaccinated affect a person’s ability to congregate with others? For now, here are CDC’s guidelines:

If you are fully vaccinated:

  • You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • If you have been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
    • However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you do not have symptoms.

The CDC also advises that fully vaccinated individuals should continue to protect themselves and others by wearing a mask, socially distancing and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. These precautions apply to the following circumstances:

Additionally, the CDC recommends avoiding medium or large-sized gatherings, delaying domestic and international travel and following your employer’s guidelines. Everyone should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, get tested and stay home and away from others.

Though these new guidelines signify a brighter light at the end of a long, dark tunnel, the CDC remains cautiously optimistic. There is still much to learn about the rise of new COVID-19 variants and how they may impact the effectiveness of vaccines.

For more information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control or Prevention or Shelby County Health Department sites.

All Southwest students, employees and visitors who test positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to self-report online on the coronavirus section of the Southwest website. The form only takes a few minutes to complete and all information will be kept strictly confidential.

Please review the College's infectious disease policy and stay tuned for updates via email and on the College’s coronavirus website at


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