Big Island Coronavirus Updates

Vaccinated? CDC Says You Can Begin Taking Some of Your Life Back

By Max Dible
March 8, 2021, 12:48 PM HST
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Individuals who have completed their coronavirus vaccination schedules may safely begin reviving aspects of pre-pandemic life, including gathering absent restrictions in some contexts, according to US public health officials.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new guidance Monday, saying that those who are fully vaccinated may congregate in small, private settings without masks. People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their second doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after receiving the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Acting State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble elaborated on the new CDC guidance as part of a Department of Health press conference Monday, which was convened to discuss the detection of the so-called “South African” COVID-19 variant in Hawai´i ⚊ known to be more transmissible than other variants as well as potentially antibody- and vaccine-resistant.

“We still need to be very cognizant of who is at risk,” Kemble said. “If everyone is fully vaccinated, you can have a gathering without masks on.”

Kemble added, however, that if unvaccinated individuals at risk of severe outcomes are present, social distancing and mask wearing should be observed. No matter vaccine status, everyone should continue following DOH safety protocols whenever interacting in public spaces.

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It is important to note that those who are vaccinated can still contract the disease and spread it to others who are not yet immune. Those who have been previously infected with the coronavirus are also susceptible to reinfection, particularly from some of the new strains present in Hawai´i, such as those originating in South Africa, the UK and Brazil.

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The CDC noted that nearly 100 million shots of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered nationwide as of the most recent statistics available. Approximately 9% of the population has been fully inoculated, while roughly 18% has received at least one shot.

Max Dible
Max Dible is the News Director for both Big Island Now and Kauai Now. He also serves as News Director for Pacific Media Group's Hawai‘i Island family of radio stations.
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