Senior Health

3/12/2021 | By Annie Tobey

This and other post-vaccination restrictions and guidelines

From early on in the coronavirus pandemic, we realized that our personal decisions weren’t simply for our own well-being. Instead, our actions affected other people, too. If you’ve received your full coronavirus vaccine, you may wonder, are there post-vaccination restrictions and guidelines that you should follow? Do you still need to wear a mask if you’re vaccinated?

The good news is, you can set aside some of the tight restrictions we’ve lived under since the pandemic was declared in March 2020. Other restrictions, however, still apply. Here’s the latest.

The Heart of the Matter

Two weeks after receiving your full vaccination, you are protected from catching the coronavirus. (Full vaccination means two weeks after the second dose, if you received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen.)

What experts don’t yet know, however, is if your body can still harbor the virus and pass it on to someone else. This means that you might be able to infect an unvaccinated person. And because experts are still learning how effective the vaccines are – especially against the new variants of the disease – we still need to take precautions. According to the CDC, people who have been vaccinated should follow these guidelines:

New freedoms, with caveats

Once you’ve passed the two-week post-vaccination point, you can hang out with other fully vaccinated people to your heart’s content! In other words, it’s party time! And unless you celebrate with a masquerade party, you lucky vaccinated people do not need to wear masks!

As far as gathering with unvaccinated people indoors, the CDC says, it’s OK to gather without masks with one other household – such as your grown daughter and her family. The exception would be, do not get together with any unvaccinated person who has an increased risk of increased illness or death from COVID-19. In that case, you do need to wear a mask if you’re vaccinated.

Another new freedom you’ve gained is fear from learning that you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19. In the past year, if you were with a person who tested positive soon thereafter, you would need to stay away from others and get tested. No more! Unless you subsequently develop COVID-like symptoms, you won’t need to quarantine or get tested. One more exception: if you live in a group setting, like an assisted living facility, you should stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t display symptoms.

Post-vaccination restrictions and guidelines

Since you might still be able to spread the coronavirus, you should continue taking precautions in public places: wear a mask, stay six feet away from others, and avoid crowds, poorly ventilated spaces, medium and large gatherings, and travel. (If you do travel, follow CDC requirements and recommendations.)

If you get together with unvaccinated people from more than one other household, masking and social distancing are still recommended.

In addition, do not get together with an unvaccinated person who has an increased risk of increased illness or death from COVID-19 or who lives with someone else who does.

If there are still restrictions, why bother getting vaccinated?

Even though you still need to wear a mask if you’re vaccinated, getting that vaccine is so important in helping to get the world back to normal. The CDC reminds us that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing the disease, especially severe illness and death.

Americans share one common goal: to return to life without coronavirus restrictions and COVID-related illness and death, to a life where people can gather freely and businesses can operate fully. To get there, we need what’s called “herd immunity.” When we reach this stage, most of the population will be immune to the infectious disease, thus stifling its transmission. Every vaccination gets us one step closer to this golden goal!

Annie Tobey

Annie Tobey has been a professional writer and editor for more than 30 years. As editor of BOOMER magazine, she explored a diversity of topics of particular interest to adult children of seniors. When she’s not writing, she can be found running the trails or enjoying a beer with friends.

Annie Tobey