The first wave of citizens has been fully vaccinated with one of the COVID-19 vaccines and many have passed their two-week waiting period for full vaccine protection following the second Pfizer or Moderna injections or the single-dose Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. There is a reason to celebrate! Yet, we still must remain vigilant in preventing transmission of the virus to those waiting to be vaccinated, while we learn more about immunity.
What to Do After You’re Vaccinated for COVID-19
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is still your go-to source for information about the virus, and they’ve recently added guidance about what can change after you have been fully vaccinated and what has stayed the same. Here, we answer the five most asked questions about what to do after you’re vaccinated for COVID-19. All answers are based on having received both vaccines, or one for the Johnson and Johnson’s Janssen injection, and completing a two-week waiting period to develop the greatest level of immunity.
Is it Safe to Go Back to My Workplace?
For those who have been working from home and are considering heading back into the office after being vaccinated, be sure and follow all workplace guidance related to social distancing and wearing masks. Remaining six feet apart from others and wearing face masks are still recommended, particularly with a mix of workers who have been vaccinated and those who have not.
The level of community spread happening in your area will also determine the level of risk of returning to work. Stay current on your employer’s recommendations on workplace safety as it relates to the pandemic.
Can I Get Together with Friends and Family Now?
Separated families have faced great emotional difficulties. Some loved ones have lived alone with very little outside contact. Others had the good fortune of getting their immediate family members together in one household for the pandemic but haven’t seen any other families or friends at all or not often. CDC has recommendations on how families can interact together.
If you have been fully vaccinated you can gather indoors in small groups with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask. It gets tricky when you gather with friends and families who have not been vaccinated, particularly in areas where COVID-19 is still circulating, because it is still possible a vaccinated person can transmit the disease.
It is NOT recommended to get together with another unvaccinated person considered more at risk for severe illness or death, or anyone that lives with such a person. If you happen to carry COVID-19 to them, the consequences could be grave. In addition, if you’ve been around someone casually who then reports they have COVID-19, and you’ve been fully vaccinated and show no symptoms, you don’t have to stay away from other vaccinated people. The exception Is for those who work in a group setting where people are staying; in this case, stay away from people for 14 days and get tested for the virus.
If you find that there are unvaccinated people where you are, continue the precaution of wearing a mask and distancing six feet from those individuals. This is true in all situations.
Can I Go Out to Bars, Restaurants, Stores, and Other Gathering Places Such as Church?
Many bars are now opening. Restaurants and stores have been open, and some will increase to up to 100 percent occupancy allowed. In this type of crowd, you can’t guarantee that everyone’s been vaccinated, so if you choose to drink, eat or shop, it’s recommended to keep your six feet of distance from others and wear a mask.
The number of people in the venue matters. Medium and large crowds aren’t recommended. You can try to go to restaurants, for example, with limited seating and go at times of day when there’s likely a smaller crowd.
Can I attend events with large crowds of people?
The recommendations for medium or large gatherings haven’t changed: stay away. Often, spaces are poorly ventilated, increasing risk. If the situation that you’re in can’t be avoided, stick to the mask and six-foot rule. Hand washing can also be helpful.
Should I begin to travel?
Domestic and international travel is not recommended at this time. If you must travel, follow the CDC requirements and recommendations. Pay attention to your health, watching for COVID-19 symptoms. Get tested if you feel symptoms or find that you’re around someone with COVID-19. Always remember your mask and the six feet of personal space guideline.