As vaccines continue to rollout and nearly twenty percent of people of in the United States get at least their first shot, one question is on a lot of people’s minds: what can you do once you get the vaccine?
The past year has been a crash course of public health terms and pandemic etiquette. Social Distancing. Masks. Vaccines. Safety and Efficacy. Pfizer. Moderna. Zoom. All these words were meaningless just last year. Now, they’re part of our daily vocabulary.
But as this decade-long period hopefully comes to an end, we have to look forward to how long it will take before we have herd immunity. And before then, there are a couple things that fully vaccinated individuals can do to indulge themselves.
There is one think we definitely know: COVID-19 vaccines are incredibly effective at preventing illness, hospitalization, and death, but little is known about those who are infected after they’re vaccinated and what people can do once they have been fully vaccinated. Here’s what the new CDC guidelines say about people who have received both doses of their Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna Vaccines.
What You Can Do
- Gather indoors with other vaccinated individuals without a mask.
- Gather indoors with unvaccinated individuals unless one is at an increased risk for COVID-19.
- Avoid testing if you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 (unless you live in a group setting).
Whether or not you have access to the vaccine or not, one thing must be iterated: vigilance outside of home is necessary if we want to return to any semblance of normal life. However, because vaccines are incredibly effective at preventing COVID-19, especially given a recent study that shows that Pfizer’s vaccine is 97% effective in Israel, higher than even earlier estimates, some steps can be taken.
Assuming that you’re with other vaccinated individuals, chances are that the vaccine will protect you even if any of those present were exposed. However, while you’re in public, it’s best to continue wearing a mask and be socially-distanced because nobody knows how long immunity lasts nor do we know how well it prevents coronavirus from spreading.
What You Can’t Do
- Abandon all coronavirus prevention measures, including but not exclusive to wearing masks, avoiding crowds, and socially distancing, when in public, gathering with multiple unvaccinated families, or meeting someone at risk for severe illness.
- Travel domestically or internationally.
- Stop watching out for symptoms of COVID-19 in your workplace, school, or home.
Because variants pose new and untested contests to worldwide vaccinations, it’s crucial that we learn more about how vaccines work against the different variants. By preventing the spread of the virus, we can lower the number of new mutants formed and minimize the chance of a new vaccine-proof variant spreading.
It’s imperative that we correct restrictions to the best extent: relaxing restrictions for vaccinated people is crucial to beginning the transition to pre-pandemic life. Despite these CDC guidelines, it’s best to think of your own situation: rather than thinking about your own condition, think of your neighbors, friends, and relatives and their vaccine/health status before arranging meetings. It’ll help us all adjust before we can truly return to normal society.