COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting sick. Based on what we know about COVID-19 vaccines, people who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions in public places, such as by wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces until we know more.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided the following guidance.
Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?
People are considered fully vaccinated:
- Two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, like the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines; or
- Two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.
If it has been less than two weeks since your shot, or if you still need to get your second dose, you are not fully protected. Keep taking all prevention steps until you are fully vaccinated.
If you’ve been fully vaccinated:
- You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
- You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
- However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.
What Hasn’t Changed
- You should still take steps to protect yourself and others in many situations, like wearing a mask, staying at least 6 feet apart from others and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces. Take these precautions whenever you are:
- In public
- Gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one other household
- Visiting with an unvaccinated person who is at increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 or who lives with a person at increased risk
- You should still avoid medium or large-sized gatherings.
- You should still delay domestic and international travel. If you do travel, you’ll still need to follow CDC requirements and recommendations.
- You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
- You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace.
What We Know
While we’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19, we know that:
- COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19, especially severe illness and death.
- Other prevention steps help stop the spread of COVID-19, and that these steps are still important, even as vaccines are being distributed.
What We’re Still Learning
We’re still learning:
- How effective the vaccines are against variants of the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Early data shows that vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others.
- How well COVID-19 vaccines keep people from spreading the disease.
- Early data shows that the vaccines may help keep people from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more as more people get vaccinated.
- How long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people.
As we know more, the CDC will continue to update their recommendations for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
Until we know more about those questions, everyone—even people who’ve had their vaccines—should continue taking basic prevention steps when recommended.