Outdoors in the sunlight, a smiling woman embraces a child lovingly.

If you need another reason to get the vaccine, here’s a big one: A taste of freedom.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says two doses of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson greatly reduces your chance of catching COVID-19 and your risk of hospitalization or death.

The CDC’s new guidelines say, once fully vaccinated, you will be free to enjoy some liberties we once took for granted:

  • Entertaining friends and family indoors without masks if they also are fully vaccinated.
  • Being indoors without masks when visiting unvaccinated people from a single household. But if meeting more than one household, stay outdoors, wear masks and keep socially distanced.
  • Visit unvaccinated people who are not at increased risk of COVID-19. At risk individuals still include those who are pregnant, obese, smoke or have diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, long term kidney ailments or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
  • Skip isolating or getting tested if you’ve been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 and have no symptoms.

There are exceptions: If you live in or visit a group setting such as assisted living or correctional facilities, you need to stay away weeks after being within 6 feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more within a 24-hour period.

If you work in a healthcare setting, you must continue to wear personal protective equipment to keep you and others safe. You also must quarantine yourself if you’ve been exposed to someone who has the coronavirus.

Vaccinated grandparents can visit and enjoy your hugs and those of your unvaccinated children, as long as you limit guests to your household and none of you are at risk for severe COVID-19.

Still Off-Limits

You still must wear masks, stay 6 feet or more away from others and handwash regularly when in the company of unvaccinated people from more than one household. The CDC says to avoid mass gatherings such as at bars, weddings, funerals, sporting events and concerts.

Americans also should continue to avoid traveling in the U.S. or beyond our borders. Those who do travel should get a viral test 1 to 3 days before and 3 to 5 days after your trip. Stay home and isolate yourself from others for a full week after, even if you test negative for COVID-19. If you don’t get tested, extend your self-quarantine to 10 days after your return.

If you’ve traveled outside the states, you won’t be allowed to fly back unless you test negative for COVID-19.

The Future

About one in 10 people have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

If you have yet to receive your vaccine, know that doing so could bring freedom to yourself—and others. When 70-90 percent of Americans get vaccinated, we’ll reach herd immunity. Experts estimate that our U.S. vaccine supply will be enough to vaccinate all adults by summer.

Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine »

The information in this article was accurate as of March 22, 2020.

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