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Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies during a Senate hearing earlier this month. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN Sunday that families fully vaccinated against COVID-19 "absolutely" don't need to wear masks when gathering for the holidays.

What he's saying: "That's what I'm going to do with my family," Fauci told CNN's Dana Bash when she asked him if it was possible for fully vaccinated families to gather for Christmas without wearing face masks.

Driving the news: Fauci noted during the "State of the Union" interview that now children from 5 to 11 years old can get inoculated against the coronavirus, they should be "fully vaccinated by the time we get to the Christmas holidays."

Yes, but: Fauci warned that people should wear masks when at indoor venues where the vaccination status of others is not known, such as inside grocery stores.

The bottom line: "Get tested if you need to get tested when you're getting together. But that's not a substitute for getting vaccinated," said Fauci, who also recommended adults already inoculated to get booster shots.

  • "Get vaccinated, and you can enjoy the holidays very easily. And if you're not, please be careful."

Go deeper... Fauci: Boosters could see COVID reach endemic level in U.S. next year

Go deeper

Omicron variant found in Philadelphia man

A technician handles tubes containing swab samples for COVID-19. Photo: Ahmad Salem/Getty Images

A Northwest Philadelphia resident has tested positive for the Omicron variant, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced Friday.

Driving the news: The confirmed case of the new coronavirus variant involves a man in his 30s, the department said.

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

3 hours ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.