On September 1st, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated previously released mask and vaccination guidance. Chiefly, the guidance addresses both fully vaccinated and nonvaccinated individuals and measures to keep everyone safe from illness. Previously, the CDC released guidance on what fully vaccinated individuals can do in public.

 Definition of “Fully Vaccinated”

Accordingly, in the CDC’s mask and vaccination guidance, recommended by the federal government, “fully vaccinated” has similar definitions. For instance, achieving “full vaccination” status only occurs after:

  • Two weeks have passed after their second dose in a 2-dose series, like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines; or
  • It has been two weeks since they received a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.

Generally, if less than two weeks have passed since an individual’s last shot, they do not qualify as thoroughly protected. Hence, if a person received the first shot but not yet the second dose, they do not qualify as fully protected. For this purpose, any individual who falls into those examples should follow all prevention steps until fully vaccinated.

Overview of CDC Updated Guidance

On account of the rise of Delta variant cases, the CDC added the following into its mask and vaccination guidance:

  • All unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals aged two or older should wear a mask in indoor public places.
  • In general, fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings.
    • In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, individuals should wear masks in crowded outdoor settings. Also, people should wear masks during activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.
  • People who have conditions that weaken their immune system may not be fully protected even if fully vaccinated. They should continue to take all precautions recommended for unvaccinated people, including wearing a well-fitted mask.
  • To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent spreading it, fully vaccinated people should wear a mask indoors. Individuals should wear masks indoors, especially if they are in an area of substantial or high transmission.