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How to gather safely after your shots

Grandparents hug their grandchildren.

Seeing family and friends face-to-face again may be one of the biggest perks of getting your COVID-19 vaccine. For starters, a few hugs likely are in order.

But the virus is still spreading. So it's important to gather safely. Here is some advice for fully vaccinated folks from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(Remember: You're fully vaccinated if it's been at least two weeks since your second dose of a two-dose vaccine—or two weeks since your single-dose vaccine.)

What can you do now?

People who have been fully vaccinated can gather indoors with other people who are also fully vaccinated. And you don't have to wear a mask or stay 6 feet apart.

You can also visit unvaccinated people. But you should wear masks and keep your distance if the person you visit or anyone they live with is at high risk for getting very sick from COVID-19.

In other good news, CDC also says it's OK to travel within the U.S. once you’re fully vaccinated. But you should still wear a mask, keep 6 feet from others, avoid crowds and wash your hands often.

What shouldn't you do?

You should still take care not to mix too freely with more than one household at a time. For example, you could stop in to see your unvaccinated relatives who all live together. But if their neighbors drop by, everyone should wear masks, keep their distance and take the gathering outside.

And it's still best to avoid crowds. Medium- or large-size gatherings aren't safe yet, even after you've been vaccinated. Follow the rules for your community.

Why isn't a vaccine a free pass? It may be possible to get and spread the virus after you're vaccinated, even if you don't have symptoms. And we are still learning how well the vaccines guard against new and more infectious virus variants. Until we know more about these things, it's best to play it safe.

Want to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines? Visit our Coronavirus health topic center.

Reviewed 5/4/2021

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