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After living in a pandemic for over a year, many of us are ready to get back to the things that matter most, like seeing family members, traveling or even just resuming your old habits and activities. If you’ve been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, we’re sharing some guidance on what life looks like now.

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April 19, 2021

Vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccine, are an effective and safe way to protect yourself and those around you from getting sick. While scientists and researchers are still learning how the COVID-19 vaccines will impact its spread and how long the vaccines can protect people, the good news is fully vaccinated people can safely resume some of the things they stopped doing because of the pandemic. Before you do, let’s take a look at a few common questions you may have about life after the COVID-19 vaccine.

an older man wearing a face mask holding up his COVID-19 vaccination record card

Am I Fully Vaccinated as Soon as I Get the Second Dose?

Great question! No matter what shot you receive (either a two-dose vaccine or a single shot), you’re considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the last shot in the series, if applicable.1 The two week period after your last shot allows your body and immune system time to build an antibody response. It’s important to note that researchers don’t know how long that immunity may last and that no vaccine is 100% effective.

It’s Been a Long Time Since I’ve Seen My Family. Can My High-risk Family Members Safely Visit Me? Or Should I Still Be Cautious?

We know many of you have gone long periods of time without seeing your loved ones, and we hope you can safely enjoy their company (and exchange a few hugs!) soon. If you and everyone you are meeting is fully vaccinated, you can safely gather in a home or private setting without wearing a mask. You can also visit a single household of unvaccinated people without wearing a mask as long as no one in the household is at risk of severe illness.2 Just remember to meet inside a home or private setting. You should continue to be mindful of your transportation methods and where you meet, as some scenarios still carry more risk than others.

UP NEXT: How COVID-19 Spreads Indoors and Outdoors

a man wearing a face mask and pointing to a bandage on his arm after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine

Do I Still Have to Wear a Mask?

For now, it’s best to be cautious and continue to wear a mask to protect you and those around you. However, the CDC has recently shared new guidance for those who are vaccinated. If you are fully vaccinated and if you are around other people who are fully vaccinated, the CDC states that you can safely gather indoors without a mask. Now, that means gathering somewhere like your home with just those who are vaccinated as guests.

The CDC went on to say that if you’re fully vaccinated, you can gather with another household that hasn’t been vaccinated as long as no one in that household is at risk of severe illness from COVID-19. If there is any doubt or you’re in a crowded or poorly ventilated area, it’s best to wear a mask as we know it helps to protect you and those around you from spreading and contracting COVID-19.

What If I Have Symptoms, Should I Get Tested for Covid-19?

Yes. It doesn’t hurt to be evaluated and tested if you have been vaccinated and develop symptoms. The good news is, MedExpress offers convenient COVID-19 evaluations and testing. Our centers are open 8 to 8 and no appointment is necessary. For more health tips and tricks, visit our blog to stay up to date.

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This content was medically reviewed by Dr. Chris Howard, DO.


References:

1 CDC. Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. Last updated April 2, 2021. Accessed April 15, 2021.

 2 CDC. When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated. Last updated April 2, 2021. Accessed April 15, 2021.

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