Fully vaccinated individuals can resume activities without wearing a mask and physical distancing in indoor or outdoor settings, in most cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s updated public health guidance released Thursday.
“Today brings more encouraging news for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — and another reason for everyone else to get their shot,” wrote Arizona Department of Health Services Dr. Cara Christ on Thursday's blog post. “This is a very big step toward returning to our pre-pandemic way of life.”
But the Pima County’s mask mandate remains in effect, which does not differentiate between fully and non-vaccinated individuals.
The Board of Supervisors is seeking legal guidance from County Attorney’s Office and should be reviewing the recommendation with the Health Department to advise the board of supervisors, according to Chair Sharon Bronson.
The Board of Supervisors will meet Friday at 3 p.m. to discuss the updated CDC guidance.
Supervisor Adelita Grijalva said she was still reviewing the new guidelines. She said she was unsure whether changes would be made without more people getting vaccinated, with a goal to reach 75% of the population to achieve herd immunity.
In Arizona 5,431,712 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered, with 35.4% of Arizonans fully vaccinated. Christ notes in her blog that the CDC’s announcement comes the same day as children across the nation ages 12 to 15 may receive the Pfizer vaccine, which could potentially add more fully vaccinated individuals.
According to CDC’s updated guidance, fully vaccinated individuals can go unmasked in an indoor high-intensity exercise class, a full-capacity worship service or a crowded, outdoor event, such as a concert or sporting event. However, they are still subject to federal, state or local jurisdictions laws and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
Also, fully vaccinated individuals traveling in the U.S., no longer need to get tested before or after travel, or self-quarantine after travel. Those boarding an international flight to the U.S., however, must show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery before boarding. Self-quarantine is no longer required after arriving in the U.S. Individuals are still required to wear a mask on public transportation traveling into, within or out of the U.S. in places like planes, buses and trains, as well as airports and stations.
Additionally, the CDC advises individuals to watch for COVID-19 symptoms, especially if around someone who is sick. If displaying symptoms, people should get tested and stay home and away from others.
The CDC also notes that even fully vaccinated individuals who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken their immune system may need to continue taking all precautions to prevent contracting COVID-19 and advises they speak with their healthcare provider to discuss their activities.