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You Have Had the COVID Vaccine - Now What?

Vaccinating a high percentage of the American population against COVID-19 is a crucial part of the strategy to stop the pandemic.  Approximately 63.1 million Americans have been fully vaccinated thus far, which is about 19% of the total U.S. population.  The rate of vaccination has increased significantly over the past couple of months, with the average doses administered per day over the last 7 days at 3.19 million doses.   The CDC has now issued guidance for Americans who have been fully vaccinated.
What does it mean to be fully vaccinated?
You are considered fully vaccinated if...
  • It has been 2 weeks since your second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna vaccines)
  • It has been 2 weeks since you had a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson vaccine)
What if you are NOT fully vaccinated?You Have Had the COVID Vaccine - Now What?
If you do not meet the requirements above, you are NOT fully vaccinated.  You should continue to take all precautions to protect yourself and others.  This includes wearing a mask that covers your nose and mouth, social distancing, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and washing your hands often with soap and water or using hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.  
What can you do safely if you are fully vaccinated?
According to new CDC guidance you can do the following after being fully vaccinated…
  • Gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart
  • Gather indoors with unvaccinated people who are NOT at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, as long as they are from one household (for instance, visiting relatives who all live together)
  • Travel within the U.S. without getting a COVID test before or after travel, and without the need for self-quarantine after travel
  • Travel internationally with the following precautions or limitations:
    • Pay close attention to the situation at your international destination.
    • You do NOT need to get tested before leaving the U.S. unless your destination requires it.
    • You still need to show a negative test result BEFORE boarding a flight to the U.S.
    • You should still get tested 3-5 days AFTER international travel.
    • You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the U.S.
  • If you have been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.  There is one exception to this… If you live in a group setting, such as a group home or detention facility, then you should isolate from others for 14 days if you have been exposed to COVID-19, even if you don't have symptoms.
What precautions should you still be taking if you have been fully vaccinated?
We need around 70-85% of the country to be immune to the coronavirus for COVID-19 to stop spreading through our communities.  Because we are not nearly there yet, we still need to take some precautions.  We are also still learning how well the vaccines keep people from spreading the coronavirus.  You may not get sick after being vaccinated but you might still be able to transmit the virus to others. Based on this, until we have a much larger percentage of the population vaccinated, here are some things that fully vaccinated people should keep doing for now:
  • You should still wear a mask, stay 6 feet away from others, and avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces whenever you are:
    • In public
    • Gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one household
    • Visiting with an unvaccinated person who is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or who lives with a person at increased risk.
  • You should still avoid medium and large-sized gatherings.
  • You should still be wearing masks on public transportation, in airports, in train or bus stations.  
  • Fully vaccinated international travelers are still required to get tested within 3-5 days of arriving in the U.S.  
  • You should still be aware of any symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you have been exposed to the virus, and you should get tested and isolate from others if you have symptoms.
  • You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace.
  • I know we are all tired of wearing masks and not seeing friends and family.  If we can just keep up the precautions for another couple of months, I think we will be able to have a fantastic 4th of July barbeque!
If you have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, please log into your account and send us your question. We are here to help.
Dr. Anita Bennett MD - Health Tip Content Editor