After Covid-19 Vaccination, What Should You Do?
Covid-19 vaccination has come as a relief to a world battered by the disease. Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) has disrupted, restricted, and taken lives all over the world in the past year and a quarter.
As of June 12, 2021, 43.1% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19 (also called SARS-CoV-2) (Latest data from the CDC). How does life change if you’re one of them?
What Does Covid-19 Fully Vaccinated Mean?
You’re considered fully vaccinated when you have protection against the disease. This happens:
- Two weeks after the second dose of a vaccine requiring two doses.
- Two weeks after the shot, for the vaccine requiring only one dose.
Your immune system needs two weeks to generate the immune response required for protection. Till then, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control, USA) recommends that you continue all the Covid-19 precautions.
The first shots of the two-dose schedule vaccines do confer some protection, but the best protection requires both doses. There are several vaccines in use around the world, but the CDC recognizes only a few.
But once you’re fully vaccinated, what can you do?
Meet Other Protected People
Protected people can meet in closed places without masks. That means people who have had Covid-19 and recovered from it, and people who are fully vaccinated.
Small gatherings are safe, especially if all the persons have immunity. You can host a dinner at your home, inviting only the friends who’ve taken the vaccine or have recovered from the disease.
What About Unvaccinated People?
The CDC advises that you can meet with unvaccinated people from one household without masks and social distancing, as long as none of them are at high risk for severe disease.
If the household has an older person, immunocompromised person, or anyone at high risk for severe Covid-19, you should stick to masks, social distancing, and other precautions. Such meetings should take place outdoors for the safety of the unvaccinated persons.
Larger gatherings increase the risk of Covid-19 transmission; you should avoid them. People from multiple unvaccinated households are a risk to each other. If such a gathering is necessary, it’s best to keep it outdoors, with masks and social distancing.
Suppose You Are Exposed to Covid-19?
What should you do if you meet a person who soon after tests positive?
If you are asymptomatic, you need not quarantine or get yourself tested. However, keep a watch for any symptoms.
If you do have fever, cough, or other symptoms, you should go for testing and quarantine yourself till the test results are available.
Domestic Travel After Covid-19 Vaccination?
You can, but you shouldn’t. In other words, travel only when essential.
When traveling within the U.S., you no longer need to quarantine or test at your destination, as per CDC guidelines of April 2, 2021. The CDC bases this recommendation on the perception that fully vaccinated persons are unlikely to get or spread the disease.
However, local administrations can require testing or quarantine.
You should still wear masks while traveling and take the recommended precautions to avoid transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19).
If you are symptomatic at any time during or after travel, you should isolate yourself and get yourself tested.
What About International Travel?
Being closeted for hours with hundreds of people in an aircraft is, obviously, a high-risk situation. Avoid non-essential travel.
Find out the requirements regarding testing and isolation at your destination and follow those.
When returning to the U.S., get yourself tested in the three days before boarding your flight. If positive, do not travel, isolate yourself, and seek treatment as needed. If negative, keep the report with you while traveling.
Self-isolation is no longer required for fully vaccinated returning international travelers. However, you should watch for any symptoms, and get yourself tested 3-5 days after arrival.
Be Careful, Still
None of the vaccines is a hundred percent protective. Even after the full course (one dose or two, depending on the vaccine), you may still get Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and disease.
All the vaccines prevent serious disease and death, but even mild Covid-19 is nothing to laugh at.
Besides, if you get the infection, you’re very likely to have no symptoms, or very mild ones. As you go about your daily life, you can infect friends, family, and people you interact with at work.
The risk of catching the infection isn’t theoretical; Minnesota has found 89 people Covid-19 positive after being fully vaccinated. The story is likely to be the same everywhere.
It doesn’t mean the vaccines don’t work. They have a success rate of 94-95%; a few infections are to be expected.
So, Stick to the New Normal?
Yes, avoid going out, don’t meet groups in closed spaces, and cancel or postpone travel plans. You should continue to wear a mask outside your home and stay six feet distant from other people. Washing or sanitizing your hands as recommended is still essential.
In short, adhere to the Covid-19 precautions much as before. They can save you from mild disease, and the important people in your life from severe illness and death.
Be Less Stressed About Covid-19
True, the vaccines are not fully protective against Covid-19. Some of them have efficacy numbers that sound really poor — 60 to 70%.
What many people miss: all the approved vaccines are almost a hundred percent protective against severe disease and death.
If you’re fully vaccinated, you can be sure that you’re not going to have severe disease. You may get infected, but the disease is almost certain to be mild.
You Can Be Helpful
Since you’re protected, you can help others not so fortunate.
- People who are self-quarantining because of exposure to an infected person.
- People who are in quarantine because of travel or other reasons.
- People who have Covid-19 and are being monitored and treated in their homes.
These people need help. Offer to do their shopping, deliver their groceries, pick up their laundry, etc., and deliver it to their door. Since you are relatively safe, you can do this for your friends, of course, but also consider volunteering in your community.
Covid-19 is an enormous problem oppressing the entire world at present. More than ever before, spreading kindness and good cheer is needed.