As of mid-March, nearly one quarter of San Diego residents have received at least one vaccination dose, and almost fourteen percent are fully vaccinated. This includes more than 400,000 San Diego residents over the age of 60. Since this month also marks the one-year anniversary of lockdown in San Diego, many residents are more than ready to visit with family and friends again. It’s important for vaccinated seniors and caregivers in San Diego to realize that they still need to use caution when interacting with loved ones, but there is good news. The CDC has just released new guidelines for how fully vaccinated seniors can safely interact with other fully vaccinated family and friends in certain settings.
On March 8th, the CDC announced their “first set of public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people.” People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose vaccine like Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, or two weeks after the first and only dose of a single shot vaccine like Johnson & Johnson/Janssen. These new recommendations only apply to non-healthcare settings such as in home care in San Diego. According to the CDC,
“Fully vaccinated people can:
- Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing;
- Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing;
- Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic.”
These guidelines mean that the fully vaccinated can visit with one another indoors, in private spaces. Healthcare settings are still restricted and public spaces like restaurants and stores still require masks. So while some seniors and loved ones can finally spend time together in person, it’s not yet time to abandon all the precautions that protect the rest of the community. In fact, the CDC further advises:
“For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:
- Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing;
- Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease;
- Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households;
- Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings;
- Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms;
- Follow guidance issued by individual employers;
- Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations.”
As of March 9, 2021, about 18% of the United States’ population has been vaccinated with at least one dose, and more than 2 million doses are administered every day across the country. We get closer and closer to herd immunity and peace of mind every day. It’s important even for the fully vaccinated that we all keep observing the COVID-19 protocols in public so we can stay healthy and get back to normal.
Remember, you can get notifications from the state of California about your specific eligibility for the vaccine by signing up at https://myturn.ca.gov/. Or you can call the state’s hotline at 1-833-422-4255 for information about where you are in line, based on age, occupation or health risk.