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Get vaccinated and enjoy Thanksgiving.

That’s the message that Dr. Anthony Fauci is delivering to Americans ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, when a new poll shows that many will be gathering together at pre-pandemic levels. Fauci told CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday that families who are fully vaccinated can feel comfortable gathering indoors without masks.

“For the people who are vaccinated, the people who can get boosted, enjoy your holiday season with your family. Indoors, grandparents, children, do it,” Fauci said.

The nation’s top infectious disease expert cautioned that people should take extra care if they are traveling and find themselves in crowded indoor settings where the vaccination status of others around them is unclear.


“You need to wear a mask,” in that case, he said. “But in a family setting, particularly among vaccinated people, enjoy the holiday.”

The comments marked a stark turnaround from the guidance health officials offered to Americans in 2020, when the deadly winter surge was well underway and people were advised to spend the holidays with members of their immediate household only. This year, Fauci said, the availability of vaccines has changed things.

“Take away the anxiety, take away all the concern about what you should do or not: Get vaccinated and you can enjoy the holidays very easily,” Fauci said.

Fauci’s comments come as a new Monmouth poll found that 63 percent of respondents planned to return to a more normal Thanksgiving celebration this year, with just 26 percent planning to spend it alone or with members of their household. Last year, 45 percent of poll respondents said they would celebrate alone or with their household.

TSA screened 2.2 million airline passengers on Sunday alone, according to a TSA spokeswoman. On Friday, the agency saw the highest number of passengers in a single day since the pandemic began.


Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.