Doctors: Vaccinated people can gather without masks, but there are some stipulations

Posted at 12:53 PM, Mar 23, 2021

CLEVELAND — Now that the federal government and Ohio's COVID-19 vaccination efforts are in full swing, more and more people have received the vaccine. Does that mean you can safely gather without masks with other people who have also received the vaccine? Here's a breakdown on the topic from the Cleveland Clinic.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, folks who are fully vaccinated can now:

  • Attend small, indoor gatherings without masks with others who are fully vaccinated.
  • Fully vaccinated individuals may also have small gatherings with others from a single household who are not vaccinated — as long as no one in the household is considered high-risk.

High-risk individuals include people over 65 years old, those with cancer, hypertension, lung disease or heart disease. It also includes people who have a compromised immune system and anyone taking medication that suppresses the immune system.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that to be considered fully vaccinated, you must have received the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and two weeks must have gone by since receiving the second dose or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

When out in public, individuals must continue to wear a mask. You should also avoid large gatherings and practice social distancing. You should "avoid being in direct contact with unvaccinated people from multiple households as well as unvaccinated people at high-risk or those living with unvaccinated people at high-risk."

What about getting tested for COVID-19?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, if you're fully vaccinated, you don't need to get tested for COVID-19 if you have been in close contact with the virus and that person is asymptomatic.

"However, if the fully vaccinated person has been around someone who is sick and they are experiencing symptoms themselves, they should get tested and stay away from others," the Cleveland Clinic said.

How do I get vaccinated?

If you're in Northeast Ohio, the easiest way to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine is to schedule an appointment at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland, which currently serves as Ohio's mass vaccination site.

You can search for an appointment at the Wolstein Center or other providers in your area by cliking here.

All you have to do is fill out a form to determine if you are eligible to receive a vaccine and then select your location. If you select the Wolstein Center, you can schedule an appointment directly online when they are available. Appointments become available several times during the day so you may have to check back more than once. Some other locations, such as those at drugstores or supermarkets, may require you to leave the state's site and contact those locations directly.

Currently, individuals 40 years or older or who have qualifying medical conditions can schedule a vaccine. Gov. Mike DeWine authorized locations that have extra doses of vaccine available to allow anyone 16 years and older to sign up to receive the vaccine.

How many people have received the vaccine in Ohio?

As of Monday afternoon, nearly 3 million people have received the first dose of one of the coronavirus vaccines available, and more than 1.6 million people have completed their second dose of the vaccine.

Ohio now has more people who have received the vaccine than individuals who contracted COVID-19. As of Monday, Ohio has reported just over 1 million COVID-19 cases. More than 950,000 people have recovered from the virus, and 18,000 people have died from it.

RELATED: Vaccination isn't invincibility: Cleveland Clinic doctors offer post-vaccination guidance

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