Fauci explains if families can visit grandparents after they’ve been vaccinated

Once everyone in the household's fully vaccinated, says Dr. Fauci, it'll be safe to be around them.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says families will “ultimately” be able to visit with grandparents once everyone in the household is fully vaccinated. 

A person is “fully vaccinated” after receiving both doses of a two-dose vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine, per NBC News. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 37 million Americans have received the first dose.

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a White House press briefing last month. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Speaking to Savannah Guthrie on NBC’s “Today” show Thursday, Fauci explained that vaccinated individuals could still harbor the potentially deadly virus in their nose and transmit it to others.

“That’s the reason why we say until we have the overwhelming majority of people vaccinated, and the level of virus is very low, if you’re vaccinated, it would be prudent to wear a mask,” Fauci said.

Read More: Fauci says ‘virtually everybody’ will be eligible for vaccine by April

An earlier report on theGRIO noted that Fauci predicts that by April, it will be “open season” for vaccinations in the U.S. as supply boosts allow most Americans to get shots to protect against coronavirus, which has killed over 485,000 on these shores.

Fauci, who serves as President Joe Biden‘s chief medical adviser on COVID-19, says the rate of vaccinations will greatly accelerate in the coming months. He credits forthcoming deliveries of the two approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the potential approval of a third from AstraZeneca, and moves taken by the Biden administration to increase the nation’s capacity to deliver doses.

On “Today,” Fauci said that “by the time we get to April,” it will be “open season; namely virtually everybody and anybody in any category could start to get vaccinated.”

Read More: Black hospital faces vaccine mistrust from unlikely source

Meanwhile, it remains unclear the extent of how much the approved vaccines limit transmission, but they do protect against asymptomatic infection from COVID-19 and, as a result, those fully vaccinated have less ability to sicken others, according to the report.

 “We don’t know so much about whether or not [the vaccines] are able to prevent infection, meaning you might become infected and unwittingly transmitted to others,” said William Hanage, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “That’s something we are still learning about.”

Read More: Black doctors combat COVID-19 misinformation on Clubhouse

Dr. Jay Varkey, an associate professor of infectious disease at Emory University in Atlanta, is urging Americans to still use caution before getting together with elderly members of the family.

“If my family members were out and about in the community as essential workers,” Varkey said, “having to work in factories or in school settings where they’re intermixed with many other people, many of whom are not vaccinated, I would hold off a little bit longer.”

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