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New research suggests that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine can protect against the rapidly spreading coronavirus variant first identified in Brazil.

In a study published Monday by the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine was able to "efficiently" neutralize a variant of the virus first found in Brazil.

The Brazil variant, known as the P.1., was "roughly equivalent" to the original strain of the virus from January 2020.

Researchers at Pfizer, BioNTech and the University of Texas Medical Branch conducted the study by taking blood serum samples from 15 people who had received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine and testing them against the genetically engineered virus.

The study also found that the virus was able to neutralize the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the U.K.

According to CNN, codeine interaction risperdal Pfizer has also said that blood samples showed their vaccine was effective against the variant first identified in South Africa, known as B.1.351. The study found that neutralization was "robust but lower."

Vaccinations have significantly picked up in the U.S. over the last few weeks, with an average of 2.1 million doses each day, far above the rate from January of around 1 million. And though just 9.2% of Americans are fully vaccinated, 17.7% have received at least one dose of a vaccine.

On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control released long-awaited guidelines for post-vaccination life, announcing that fully vaccinated people can start to socialize and return to some semblance of a pre-pandemic normal.

Once people have received all of their COVID-19 vaccine doses and waited two weeks to build their full immune response, they can safely hang out indoors, unmasked and without distancing, with other fully vaccinated people, or unvaccinated people who have a low risk of severe disease.

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The new guidelines mean that families can now visit grandparents and elderly adults who have been fully vaccinated without distancing or wearing a mask, as long as they are not at a high risk of severe COVID-19 illness, without worrying about getting them sick for the first time in a year.

However, they should keep visits to a single household, the CDC said, meaning a grandmother's daughter and her family should not visit at the same time as the unvaccinated neighbors next door, for example.

Fully vaccinated people, though, should still wear masks out in public, distance from others and keep up COVID health precautions, the CDC said, to protect unvaccinated people at a high risk of severe illness in case they can asymptomatically transmit the disease.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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