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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged Americans on Friday to celebrate upcoming holidays by taking basic safety measures against the Covid-19 pandemic that still plagues the nation.
"Protect those not yet eligible for vaccination such as young children by getting yourself and other eligible people around them vaccinated," the CDC noted in guidance issued late Friday afternoon.
The latest guidance presents a less restrictive view of the holiday gatherings as two-thirds of Americans have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccines. Still, September was the most contagious month so far for children, who were back on campus without approved vaccination for most school-aged children.
The federal government is working to approve vaccination for children 5 to 11 years old, which could come in time for many holiday gatherings.
The Biden administration has told governors to prepare for child vaccinations beginning as early as November.
Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said vaccinated Americans should feel comfortable celebrating Halloween and other upcoming seasonal festivities.
Friday's guidance mirrored much of what Fauci said about Halloween: that eligible Americans should get vaccinated and that outdoor activities are safer than indoor events.
"Holiday traditions are important for families and children. There are several ways to enjoy holiday traditions and protect your health," Friday's CDC statement said.
"Because many generations tend to gather to celebrate holidays, the best way to minimize Covid-19 risk and keep your family and friends safer is to get vaccinated if you’re eligible," it said.
The CDC's initial holiday guidance included an image of the agency's ideal Thanksgiving — a virtual Thanksgiving. The centers discouraged indoor gatherings and recommended circulating air with a window fan if indoor parties are necessary.
Earlier this month, Fauci said it was too soon to hope for a relatively normal holiday season: "It's just soon to tell. We've just got to concentrate on continuing to get those numbers down."
He quickly reversed course.
"I encourage people, particularly the vaccinated people who are protected, to have a good, normal Christmas with your family," he later said.
The initial guidance was removed from the CDC's website.
More than 726,000 people have died of Covid in the United States, according to a running tally by NBC News.
Vaccinations have proven to be a valuable tool in slowing the spread of Covid-19 and lessening the impact on those who are infected.
More than 188 million people in America 12 and older have been fully vaccinated, which is 56.7 percent of the total population, according to the latest figures from the CDC.