The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its guidance on wearing masks and now says that people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear them outside or indoors in most situations.
Under the new guidance, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said that fully vaccinated individuals "can participate in indoor or outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physically distancing."
"If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic," she said. "We have all longed for this moment, where we can get back to some sense of normalcy."
The agency is still advising that people wear masks inside hospitals and other healthcare facilities. People should also keep on their masks while riding public transportation and in other crowded settings.
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the final dose of the coronavirus vaccine. That gives your body's immune system enough time to create enough antibodies to fight off the virus.
According to the CDC, 35% of Americans are fully vaccinated, while 46% have received at least one dose.
The latest update comes just two weeks after the agency said that fully vaccinated people should continue to wear masks indoors. Officials cited several recently published scientific studies for the abrupt change in policy. The new studies show that the currently authorized vaccines are effective against the emerging variants.
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