As COVID vaccinations emerge, there are a few things to consider once your vaccinations are complete. As many of us are excited to jump into socializing and some much-needed time with loved ones, it is important to take precautions post-vaccination to keep everyone’s safety in mind. Activities like dinning at a restaurant instead of take-out, or spending time indoors with a friend outside of your household are not out of reach. However, there are a few things to keep in mind once you have been fully vaccinated.
When are you considered fully vaccinated?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, you are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose of either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, or two weeks after a single-dose of the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccines.
What activities are you able to participate in?
Once you have been fully vaccinated, there are activities you can finally participate in to feel a sense of normalcy. Although it is recommended to still take precautions like social distancing and mask wearing, it is nice to finally feel that there is a light at the end of this COVID tunnel. Here are a few activities we can happily engage in with COVID safety in mind2:
- Gathering indoors without masks or staying 6 feet apart with other vaccinated individuals.
- Gather outdoors without wearing a mask. However, you should not gather without a mask if you are at a large venue or in a crowd of people.
- You do not have to get tested or quarantine before or after traveling within the United States.
- For international travel, destination requirements vary so be sure to check before travel. You will need to show a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding an international flight to the United States. It is still recommended to get tested 3-5 days after travel.
- You do not need to get tested if you have been exposed to someone COVID-19 positive unless you experience symptoms. However, you should get tested and stay away from others if you live in a group setting or home and you are exposed to someone who has COVID.
What precautions to still take
A few precautions you should still take include
- Wear a mask in indoor public settings and avoid large gatherings.
- Wear a mask while traveling.
- Avoid gatherings with multiple households of unvaccinated people.
- Avoid gathering indoors with a high-risk unvaccinated person.
- Continue to follow guidelines in the workplace.
The CDC also recommends anyone taking medications that weaken the immune system or with any serious condition to consult their healthcare provider to discuss what activities are safe after getting vaccinated1.
For some people, anti-body testing might be an option. According to the CDC, antibodies, or proteins made in response to infection, are detected through testing to see if they are in the blood of people post-infection. Antibodies are used to analyze the body’s efforts to fight off infection3. The CDC states, “In general, a positive antibody test is presumed to mean a person has been infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, at some point in the past. It does not mean they are currently infected.”
In terms of cost, the SARS-CoV-2 antibody test is currently estimated to cost between $30 and $50, a price that increases to between $120 and $175 when administration costs are included 4. In most cases, please contact your insurer for more accurate rates and coverage estimates.
There are some precautions when it comes to this testing3
- This testing should not be used to determine if someone can return to work.
- False negative or positive results are possible to occur.
- If you receive a positive result but do not have symptoms or haven’t been around any COVID positive individuals, you are not likely to be currently infected.
- It is recommended to continue taking precautions like mask wearing, frequent hand washing, and social distancing even if the antibody test results are positive.
- Although testing positive for antibodies may aid in protecting you from getting infected with COVID, it is still unknown how much and how long the extent of the protection will be.