What the CDC''s COVID Vaccination Guidelines Mean for Families

Any grandparent will tell you that occasional video chats or socially distanced, masked get-togethers on the back porch don’t count as sufficient quality time with their grandkids. What grandparents want—what they have craved—all these long months are big hugs and grins they can actually see in real life. And finally, the CDC says they can have it—with some caveats, of course.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its recommendations this week for people who have been fully vaccinated (and waited two weeks for the full protection to take effect). Here’s the biggest takeaway for grandparents (or aunts or uncles) who have been vaccinated:

You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

So it’s not time to throw the big family barbecue with all the second cousins, but if you’ve been vaccinated and you want to get together with unvaccinated people from one other household (and they’re not high risk), you can do it. Inside! With no masks! I, personally, expect my parents to be knocking at my front door precisely 336 hours after their second shots.

If you do decide to invite over some unvaccinated family or friends from a third household, the CDC says you should take the gathering outside and everyone should don their masks and stay physically distanced, due to the risk the unvaccinated members of the group pose to one another.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean big changes for kids in other areas of their lives—they should still be masked, outside, and socially distanced for playdates with friends, and if they attend school in person, all the same restrictions will remain in place there. But they’re allowed to hug their grandparents again, and that is progress worth celebrating.


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