There’s good news for the many grandparents desperate to see their grandchildren. Fully vaccinated people can spend time indoors with unvaccinated family members from a single household as long as no one is at high risk for developing COVID-19 complications, according to new interim guidelines issued by the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention.
“Finally, this is the clarity people have been waiting for from the CDC, which is: Yes if you are a vaccinated grandparent and you want to visit your adult children or grandchildren who are not vaccinated, you can,” Vicky Nguyen, NBC investigative and consumer correspondent, said on TODAY on Tuesday. “You don’t have to wear masks. You don’t have to socially distance, but there is a big caveat.”
The caveat? If someone in the unvaccinated group is at high risk for COVID-19 complications, then everyone should practice good social distancing practices, such as meeting outside, staying 6 feet away from one another and wearing a mask.
“So, if anyone has chronic illness, are immune-compromised, obese, then all the guidelines are in effect,” Nguyen said.
For many this is welcome news.
“This is the best case scenario right now,” Nguyen said. “The CDC won’t use the words 'totally safe' but they will say it is likely low risk.”
Fully vaccinated does not mean that people are protected immediately after receiving their first and only Johnson & Johnson shot or their second Pfizer or Moderna shot. Instead, experts believe people are completely vaccinated two weeks after their final shot.
“Two weeks — that is the magic day after you get your final dose,” Nguyen explained.
While vaccinated people meeting with unvaccinated people seems less risky, the CDC continued to stress that it does not recommend travel unless it is essential. So out-of-state grandparents might need to wait longer for that coveted visit with their grandchildren.
“It’s a personal risk calculation. If you are going to travel, take all of the precautions because you probably are not going to get sick because you have the vaccination — but where are you going and what could you pick up along the way and could you possibly transmit that to the people you’re visiting?” Nguyen said. “We still don’t know a lot about the (COVID-19) variants and how effective the vaccines will be against the variants.”
Fully vaccinated people can meet indoors with other fully vaccinated people with no masks or social distancing, too. The CDC recommends that fully vaccinated people still wear masks when in public and follow all local health requirements. Health officials also advise that even vaccinated people skip medium- to large-sized gatherings.
While vaccinated people do not have to quarantine or seek medical help if they’re exposed to someone with COVID-19, the CDC recommends that people monitor their health for two weeks after exposure. If they develop any symptoms during that time, they should get tested.
Grandparents across the country have been rejoicing over being able to spend time with their grandchildren again.
"At long last — it's become safe to rediscover Grandma!" writer and grandmother Leslie Blanchard wrote in a celebratory essay for the TODAY Parenting Team. "Not trying to brag, but I must admit, I was ever-so-instantly popular."