Just about everywhere I go these days, and with nearly everyone I talk to, there’s one thing on everyone’s mind: the COVID vaccine. I have at least two conversations a day between friends, family, and colleagues that go something like this:
“Did you get the vaccine yet?”
“Not yet, but I finally got an appointment. Did you?”
“Yes! Got my first shot already and I get my next one in two weeks.”
"Did it hurt?"
"It wasn't bad at all!"
There’s a certain excitement in these conversations of the long-awaited anticipation of life getting back to normal – at least somewhat.
What exactly can you do, or not do, once you’ve had the vaccine? Is it a license to stop wearing a mask, or to gather in public places without worry?
Since so many of us are wondering about this, and how it affects our lives both personally and professionally, I consulted the CDC and put together these condensed guidelines below. To read the complete COVID-19 vaccination guidelines, click here. You may also want to share this information with your patients in your practice newsletter.
Important COVID-19 vaccination stats and info:
- As of March 24, 2021, more than 85 million Americans have had at least one dose, and almost 47 million people are fully vaccinated. (That's just over 25 percent of the total population.)
- You are considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose in a two-dose series (i.e., Pfizer, Moderna), or two weeks after a single dose (i.e., Johnson & Johnson).
- Between doses of the two-dose vaccine, you are NOT considered fully protected.
After the vaccine, here’s what’s socially acceptable:
- Safely gather indoors with other fully vaccinated family and friends without masks.
- Safely gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household, such as visiting relatives or neighbors, without masks – unless someone is in a high-risk group for serious illness if they get the virus.
- If you’ve been around someone who has the coronavirus, you do not need to quarantine or get tested unless you begin having symptoms.
After the vaccine, here are some precautions you should still take:
- Wear a mask in public.
- Avoid large crowds.
- Avoid gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one household.
- Avoid close proximity to people with an increased risk of severe illness from COVID.
- Delay domestic and international travel, unless absolutely necessary. Follow CDC requirements if you do travel.
- Get tested for COVID if you experience any symptoms.
- Continue to follow safety and sanitary guidelines at your healthcare practice.
Since the vaccine is new, we don’t yet know how long it will protect us from contracting COVID-19, or one of the virus’s many variants. If you’re unsure whether or not people you come in contact with have been vaccinated, or have tested positive for the virus, continue to take basic preventive measures, such as wearing a face covering, washing your hands frequently, and social distancing.
We’re all anxious to get back to the activities we enjoy with the people we enjoy doing them with, but it’s important not to rush things. As more and more of us are vaccinated, if we all continue to do our part, we’ll all benefit in the long run.
Need more information about what to expect before you get vaccinated? Get the guide.