You’ve Gotten Your COVID-19 Shots—Now What?
By Angela Skrzynski, DO, Clinical Lead for Remote Programs
For months, you’ve looked forward to the day when you could finally get vaccinated against COVID-19. Now that you received your vaccine—or soon will—what does that mean?
First and foremost, it’s peace of mind. Thanks to vaccines, we’re making great strides toward a return to normalcy and the activities we enjoy. All available vaccines are safe and effective, and there are very few people for whom vaccination isn’t recommended. I encourage everyone to become fully vaccinated as soon as possible.
Second, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if you are fully vaccinated, you no longer have to wear a mask in many circumstances.
You’re considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your:
- Second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna shots, or
- Your Johnson & Johnson shot
Can I Hug Relatives?
Seeing close relatives is probably at the top of your post-vaccination wish list. Even though young family members may not be vaccinated, go ahead and give that hug.
When you’re fully vaccinated, you can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing. However, some states, cities and businesses may require you wear a mask indoors. You’ll also still have to wear one in health care settings, on public transportation and airplanes, and if you are immunocompromised.
Outdoor activities are still best, although I advise keeping your gatherings small. Indoors, if you see someone coughing or ill, put on your mask and stay at least 6 feet away.
When Can I Travel?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.
Check in advance on any travel restrictions. Many people have not received a COVID-19 vaccine yet, so take these precautions:
- Road trips. Pack snacks and water so you need to stop less. For restaurant meals, choose drive-through or takeout rather than dining in. Use hand sanitizer before eating and after going into a store or pumping gas.
- Air travel. Wear your mask at all times. It should have two or more layers of breathable material, cover your nose and mouth completely, and fit snugly on the sides. For even more layers, wear two masks at once, as long as that doesn’t impair your breathing. Pack extra masks, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer in a carry-on bag. At the airport, maintain 6 feet between yourself and others not traveling with you.
- Hotel stays. Use mobile check-in and contact-free payment, if possible. Wear a mask in common areas.
Getting vaccinated doesn’t mean you can forget about the pandemic. But with precautions, you can start enjoying your post-vaccine life.
Get the latest information on COVID-19 safety precautions and vaccines here,
Updated June 1, 2021