The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention will soon publish new guidelines for those who have been fully vaccinated.
According to CNN, the Biden administration has been working on these guidelines for weeks. They were expected to be released yesterday, but it is still being edited, according to an official involved in the drafting process.
Experts believe the guidelines were likely sent out to the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services so their staff could be made aware and familiar with them before they were released to the public.
Experts say the CDC is looking to strike a very tricky balance with the new guidelines. They must walk a fine line of encouraging the public to get vaccinated, helping those who have been vaccinated understand that they must still be very careful, and managing the expectations of the unvaccinated.
“We don’t want people who are not fully vaccinated to think that everything has been lifted and already we can put things behind us, and the pandemic is over, because it’s not,” the official told CNN.
The new guidelines will not give the vaccinated population a free pass to start living like it’s pre-2020 again. The official from the Biden administration did say the guidelines will offer some hope that the end of total social isolation is near.
The CDC also confirmed that an article in Politico accurately characterized the guidelines that seem to recommend that those that have been fully vaccinated can have social interactions at small home gatherings with other fully vaccinated people.
Now, that doesn’t mean we should get ready to throw our masks away. The guidelines will still advise everyone, including the vaccinated, to continue to wear masks in public and continue to social distance from others, as masks continue to work to prevent the spread of the newer variants.
Public health experts and officials are still worried that the spread of the more contagious variants could end up prolonging the pandemic.
“While we’re still vaccinating everyone, our primary societal goal remains to protect the unvaccinated,” Dr. Aaron Richterman, an infectious disease physician at the University of Pennsylvania, said.
Experts maintain that there’s no guarantee that vaccinated people may not still carry virus in their noses or throats, which continues to make them a threat to the unvaccinated.
The guidelines will also continue to caution against travel. As Dr. Fauci said during a CNN Global Town Hall last month, the vaccine is not a “free pass to travel.” The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said “essential” travel is a yes, “but we don’t want people to think because they got vaccinated, then other public health recommendations just don’t apply,” he said.
Don’t expect the guidelines to be totally prescriptive and tell you exactly what you can and cannot do once you receive the vaccine, after all they are just that- guidelines.
“It’s impossible to get to that level of detail. We can’t predict every situation that human beings will be in,” the Biden administration official explained. “What we can do is give principles for people to think through. It will give people the means to think through it and then they can choose what level of risk they wish to take.”