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Idaho health experts discuss possible difference in safety guidance based on vaccination status

The CDC relaxed guidelines for fully vaccinated people, leaving some wondering if there will be different rules for different people going forward.

BOISE, Idaho — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their health guidelines earlier this week, stating that fully vaccinated people can now gather with other vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or having to social distance. 

The CDC is still urging Americans to continue to wear masks, avoid large gatherings, and physically distance themselves from others when out in public. 

The new guidance created questions about health guidelines going forward. Mainly, will there be different rules for different people based on their vaccine status? 

One KTVB viewer asked, for example, if non-vaccinated people could expect different treatment at restaurants or senior living facilities.  

Idaho health experts addressed the question during a COVID-19 vaccine media briefing Tuesday afternoon. During the briefing, professionals also discussed if they could foresee health guidance being suggested to Gov. Brad Little that included different rules for different people.

At this time, there have been no conversations surrounding that possibility, according to Idaho State Epidemiologist Dr. Christine Hahn.

"I think that would be a very, very difficult way to go. None of us want to envision us having to carry around some sort of a card or proof of vaccination before we can enter a restaurant that kind of thing, so I don't foresee that," she said. "Obviously, we can't predict the future, but I have a hard time seeing how that could possibly work, or that we would want to have to live in that type of society unless it really came down to no other choice."

READ MORE: Idaho health experts provide an update on vaccine rollout

For months, the goal in the health community has been to get as many people vaccinated as possible to reach herd immunity. A major announcement addressing that came last week from President Joe Biden, who said the goal is to have enough vaccine supply for all adults by May.

Right after that announcement, Gov. Little said he didn't have specifics from the White House. To him, the math of vaccine supply into Idaho just didn't add up.

He admitted, though, it was possible he didn't have all the information yet.

Idaho health leaders addressed Biden's announcement, explaining that, for now, it's tough to say but they are hopeful it happens. Right now, the state has a limited view into how many vaccines they will receive in the coming weeks.

"We get our numbers in three-week increments and they are right now just changing very, very small percentages but we were told that within a month or so that that could change significantly. So I don't have anything specific, but we're hopeful," Idaho Immunization Program Manager Sarah Leeds said.

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