First and foremost, what does it mean to be fully vaccinated? People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose series –– the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines –– or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine –– the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. However, fully vaccinated people should keep practicing the safety guidelines outlined by the CDC by wearing masks and maintaining social distances when necessary.
Why should you consider getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine is a personal choice, but if you are still deciding whether to get the vaccine, it’s important to understand the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. Dr. Hari Susarla, primary care physician at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group in Sugar Land, explains how the vaccine’s benefits outweigh the risks.
What safe activities can fully vaccinated people start doing?
The following recommendations are for non-healthcare settings. According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can:
- Meet inside homes and other buildings with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or social distancing.
- Gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without masks or social distancing, unless any of those people have an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Assemble or participate in activities outdoors without wearing a face covering except in certain crowded arenas.
- Travel in the United States without getting tested or self-quarantining before or after your trip.
- Travel internationally, but pay close attention to the situation at your international destination.
- You do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it.
- You need to show a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery before boarding an international flight back to the United States.
- It would be best if you got tested 3-5 days after traveling internationally.
- You do NOT need to self-quarantine after returning to the United States.
- If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to quarantine or get tested unless you have symptoms. However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home), you should still get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.
While nothing is without risk, there are some low- and moderate-risk activities to consider.
What should fully vaccinated people avoid doing?
While at indoor public spaces, the vaccination status of others or whether they are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 illness is likely unknown. Therefore, fully vaccinated people can choose to continue to wear a well-fitted mask, wash hands often, cover coughs and sneezes, and follow any applicable guidance. The CDC research shows that receiving the vaccine reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19, as well as preventing serious illness.
What are the recommendations for testing and quarantining for fully vaccinated people?
While the risk of being infected with COVID-19 is low, any fully vaccinated person experiencing symptoms consistent with the virus should isolate themselves from others and be tested. The fully vaccinated person should inform their healthcare provider of their vaccination status when receiving care for COVID-19 symptoms.
If a fully vaccinated person has been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, they do not need to be tested or quarantined following exposure. However, they should still monitor themselves for symptoms up to 14 days after exposure.
St. Luke’s Health has been designated as a vaccine hub by the State of Texas. Our vaccination sites are located on the campuses of Texas Southern University and Rice University, as well as Woodforest Bank Stadium in The Woodlands. After receiving your first dose at one of our sites, more information will be provided about scheduling your second dose. Request your COVID-19 vaccine with St. Luke’s Health today.
CDC | When You've Been Fully Vaccinated
CDC | Interim Public Health Recommendations For Fully Vaccinated People