Vaccines Provide More Flexibility


With more and more Californians, including many Campolindo staff and students, having been vaccinated against COVID-19, it seems that some restrictions and regulations may begin to lessen. However, with ever changing guidelines and differing advice, one can be lost in the grey area of to-mask or not-to-mask.

In this era of stark uncertainty, the newest phase of this pandemic has brought about yet another question: What can you really do once you’ve been fully vaccinated?

French teacher Edward Willy received his 2nd dose of the vaccine in mid-March and has since enjoyed some of the freedom accompanied by the immunization.

“We were able to have a birthday party outdoors for my mother, who turned 90 in March. For many family members it was at last a chance to hug and kiss one another. Before that, because my mother has lung disease, I was the only one in her pod,” said Willy.

Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s guidelines, fully vaccinated people can visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors and without masks or social distancing. In addition, vaccinated people can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from a single household, so long as they are at low risk for severe COVID-19.

Junior Amber Van Meines was vaccinated in January and now “hang[s] out inside with other fully vaccinated people per the CDC guidelines. This is a more recent thing though, since people [her] age are getting vaccinated in April/May.”

In addition, the CDC announced on April 27 that fully vaccinated people can now go outdoors without masks while walking, biking, jogging, or dining outdoors with other vaccinated friends.

Willy said, “I’ve stopped wearing a mask when I walk in the evenings. Also, at my gym, there are outdoor dance classes in which masks aren’t required. It has been great to see the other dancers after a year.”

However, fully vaccinated individuals must remember that the vaccines do not have 100% efficacy rates. There have been cases of breakthrough infections, along with the risk of new variants that are unprotected by existing vaccines.

In the early stages of the public being vaccinated, with 52% of eligible Americans having gotten at least 1 shot, according to the Washington Post, it also remains unclear to what extent vaccinated people could spread the virus to others.

“I will definitely continue to wear a mask and avoid crowds since I can still carry COVID and pass it on, even though the period in which I’d have it would be shorter… I feel a lot safer about going places and eating out, but thinking about the variants makes me nervous to attend large events and other gatherings,” said Van Meines.

The CDC recommends that vaccinated people continue to sport a well-fitting mask when attending crowded outdoor events, going to a hair salon or barber, riding public transportation, and visiting other indoor places such as malls, museums, or movie theaters.

Willy said, “I’m still avoiding restaurants and crowds but have done take-out a few times and outside seating in a restaurant twice. I’m eager to travel though [and] will continue to wear a mask if on a plane flight.”

For those suffering from post-pandemic wanderlust, the CDC says that “fully vaccinated people can travel within the United States and do not need COVID-19 testing or post-travel self-quarantine as long as they continue to take COVID-19 precautions while traveling – wearing a mask, avoiding crowds, socially distancing, and washing hands frequently.”

Overall, it is evident that vaccinations are pushing us towards increased normalcy. Although the rate of inoculations has reportedly slowed nationwide due to vaccine hesitancy, the new relaxation of restrictions for vaccinated individuals marks a huge milestone.