If you've been able to snag a COVID-19 vaccine during this initial rollout, the Centers for Disease Control is now releasing the long-awaited news that fully-vaccinated people can gather indoors without masks or social distancing.

The news was announced Monday morning.

As we inch closer to summertime (I'm kind of ignoring Spring Break altogether), many of us are itching to get back to what life was like pre-pandemic - like traveling without concern, enjoying amusement parks, going to live concerts - and honestly, the COVID-19 vaccine is our fastest track back to that life.

“We know that people want to get vaccinated so they can get back to doing the things they enjoy with the people they love,” said CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, in a statement.

According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can:

  • Gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
  • Gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people are high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.

Now what does being fully vaccinated mean? You ARE fully protected 2 weeks after your second dose in a 2-dose series, like the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. If you opt for the single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine, then you are fully vaccinated 2 weeks after receiving that dose.

In public, fully vaccinated people should still take precautions like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. The CDC says that you should still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings, and only travel if necessary.

Please consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine. About 30 million Americans (or only about 9% of the U.S. population) have been fully vaccinated with a federally authorized COVID-19 vaccine so far, according to the CDC.

Here in East Texas, thousands of vaccines are being dispersed in our area each week. CHRISTUS Good Shepherd Medical Center Longview and NET Health in Tyler will receive 3,510 Pfizer vaccines this week.

You can see the entire list of COVID-19 vaccine allocations in Texas by clicking here.

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.