As we continue to wage the battle against COVID-19, vaccination remains a key weapon. For those who do participate in this preventative measure, completing the vaccines brings more questions about what’s safe and what isn’t. Jason Jawanda, MD, PPG – Family Medicine, answers some of these post-vaccination quandaries and the shares the caveats we should all keep in mind moving forward.
When is someone considered fully vaccinated?
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they receive the second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.
Remember, we are still learning about this virus and the vaccines. While early data has been promising, we are still waiting to see how effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus and how effective the vaccines are in preventing the spread of the virus.
So what does change after a person becomes fully vaccinated?
After being completely vaccinated, people can safely:
- Visit with other fully vaccinated people of any age inside a home or private setting without a mask
- Visit with one household of unvaccinated people who are not at risk for severe illness inside a home or private setting without a mask
- Travel domestically and internationally (depending on the destination) without a pre-travel test and without pre-travel/post travel quarantining
What preventative measures does a fully vaccinated person still have to observe?
- Medium to large gatherings
- Visiting with any unvaccinated people, particularly those at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 or who lives with a person at increased risk
- Always wear a mask on planes, buses and other forms of public transportation when traveling out, within or into the United States
- If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, in which case you should also get tested
Can someone still become infected (or infect others) with COVID-19, even after becoming fully vaccinated?
Yes. Even though studies show COVID-19 vaccination prevents most individuals from getting the virus, these vaccines are not 100% effective. Therefore it’s important to remember that the vaccine is a powerful tool, in addition to social distancing and mask wearing, that will help you and your family stay safe from COVID-19.
Is the vaccine “worth it” in your opinion?
This pandemic has taken a toll on all of us. We have all made sacrifices along the way. Now more than ever we are all wanting to return back to normal. This vaccine brings us one step closer to achieving that goal. We must continue to do our part until that happens.