How to Protect Yourself and Others After Getting the COVID Vaccine

covid vaccine safety precautions

With the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, everyone in the United States should have had the chance to make an appointment and receive their vaccine. If not, you can find a COVID-19 vaccine near you and set up an appointment. That being said, everyone should still take the necessary precautions to continue to protect themselves and others. 

Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?

In general, a person is considered to be fully vaccinated if they received the full vaccine schedule. Individuals who receive the vaccine must wait 2 weeks before partaking in regular activities again. This is because it takes about two weeks for an individual's body to build up immunity against the virus that causes COVID-19. The term “fully vaccinated” depends on the vaccine administered: 

  • For 2-dose series vaccines such as Pfizer or Moderna, a person is fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose. 
    • Make sure you, your family, and your friends go to the second vaccine appointment. Only getting the first dose means one is partially vaccinated and does not mean one is fully vaccinated.
  • For single-dose vaccines such as Johnson & Johnson, a person is fully vaccinated 2 weeks after the vaccine has been administered. 

If you are immunocompromised or have a medical condition that requires taking medications that will weaken your immune system, there is a possibility that you are NOT fully protected. Even if you are fully vaccinated, you should still follow proper precautions such as wearing a mask and socially distancing yourself. You should talk to your healthcare provider about the activities you plan to partake in.

How to Find a COVID-19 Vaccine Near You?

If you or someone you know has not been vaccinated yet, be sure to find a COVID-19 vaccine and sign up for an appointment. Signing up for a COVID-19 vaccine is easy! Simply follow the steps below to find vaccination provider near you:

  • Search Vaccines.gov
  • Text your ZIP code to 438829
  • Call 1-800-232-0233

You can also do try the following:

  • Contact your healthcare provider or health insurance company to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment with them directly
  • Contact your state health department to find vaccination locations near you
  • Check your local pharmacy’s website or give them a call to ask for available appointments
  • Ask a friend, neighbor, or family member to help you set up an appointment

What Can You Do After You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated? 

If you have been fully vaccinated and have waited two weeks after your second dose, you can start partaking in activities again in small groups without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart indoors. This means you can see friends and family smile again and spend time together, just like the old times! If you are a vaccinated grandparent, you can see your grandkids again and no longer have to deal with video calls or drive-by visits. 

What To Do If You Are Vaccinated and Are Exposed to COVID-19?

In the chance that you are exposed to COVID-19 and are fully vaccinated, you do not have to self-quarantine if you do not experience any symptoms. If you do experience symptoms, this may mean that you are not fully vaccinated and must seek medical attention. If you are going to the hospital or any healthcare office, you must keep wearing your mask to ensure that others are protected, especially those at higher risk for contracting the virus. 

Are Masks and Social Distancing No Longer Required If You Are Vaccinated?

Being fully vaccinated does not mean you should throw your masks aways or neglect existing precautions. COVID-19 is still around and safety precautions should still be taken in certain settings. Remember, some federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial laws, rules, and regulations may still require wearing a mask or social distancing. This includes local businesses and workplace guidelines. Be sure to respect laws and regulations depending on where you are located.

Can You Travel After Being Fully Vaccinated?

If you are fully vaccinated, you are allowed to travel but must wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation. You also need to continue to partake in social distancing precautions to help protect yourself and others.

  • If you plan to travel within the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after your trip. You also do not need to self-quarantine after travelling. 
  • If you plan to travel outside of the United States, be sure to check current travel guidelines and health notices before planning your trip. 
    • You DO NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States, unless required by the destination country.
    • You DO need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery before boarding an international flight back to the United States.
    • You SHOULD get tested 3-5 days after international travel.
    • You DO NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.

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