After a long, hard year – we are finally starting to see a glimmer at the end of the tunnel. The country is distributing an average of 3 million vaccines per day, with around 40% of our population now having received at least one dose of the vaccine. In fact, as of April 20th - every American 16 and older is eligible for a vaccine!
However, getting vaccinated and being around others who have also received their vaccines does not mean we should stop taking precautions. We’ve put together some information on what you can and can’t do if you’ve been fully vaccinated.
How to know if you’re fully vaccinated
The CDC considers someone to be fully vaccinated 2 weeks after you receive your last dose. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated.
If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, your Care Guide can help keep you informed and secure a vaccine appointment for you or your loved ones once eligible.
We’re still learning
We know COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing the disease, especially severe illness and death. The CDC is still learning:
- How effective the vaccines are against the variants of the virus, with early data showing they may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.
- How well COVID-19 vaccines keep people from spreading the disease, with early data being promising on this front.
- How long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.
I’m fully vaccinated – what can I start to do and what can’t I do yet?
If you’ve been fully vaccinated as described above, there’s some great news on what you can start to do, per the CDC.
- You can now gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people (no masks or social distancing required)
- You can also gather indoors without masks or social distancing with unvaccinated people that belong to a single household. An example of this is visiting your relatives who all live together. The exception to this rule is if any of these people have or live with someone with an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- You can travel domestically (in the United States) without getting tested before or after travel or self-quarantine.
- Rules vary for international travel.
- If you’re returning from an international destination, you still need to show a negative test before boarding a flight into the country.
- You should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel but don’t need to self-quarantine upon your return.
- If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you don’t need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
- Exceptions exist for those living in a group setting.
However, being vaccinated doesn’t mean we get to go back to the way things were quite yet. Even if you’re fully vaccinated you should still take steps to protect yourself and others. This includes wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces whenever you are:
- In public.
- Gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one other household.
- Visiting anyone who is unvaccinated and at increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19.
Additionally, you should still avoid larger gatherings. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, get tested and stay home and away from others.
Businesses and means of transportation will likely still be requiring you to wear a mask even if you've been fully vaccinated. Remember to be patient and understating of other people’s rules and limitations. It will take a little longer for some to be comfortable coming out of the rules set by this past year.