What changes after you become vaccinated against COVID-19?

If you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you may have questions about what measures you still need to take in order to help slow the spread of the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommendations to help you determine which activities you may safely return to and the precautions you should continue to take.

The hands of a gloved medical professional put a bandaid on a patient's arm The hands of a gloved medical professional put a bandaid on a patient's arm

First, it’s important to remember what it means to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If you’ve received a two-dose series of vaccines, you are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose. The same two-week waiting period applies for a single-dose vaccine.

Remember, protocols and recommendations are different depending on where you live, so make sure you are following your state health department’s guidance. But per CDC guidance, once you are fully vaccinated, you may be able to return to some activities including:  

  • Gathering indoors without wearing a mask with others who are fully vaccinated
  • Gathering indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without wearing a mask, as long as they are not at risk for severe illness
  • Gathering outdoors without a mask, unless in crowded settings or at certain venues
  • Traveling domestically without a pre- or post-travel COVID-19 test and without needing to quarantine upon return
  • If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, you no longer need to stay away from others or get tested unless you experience symptoms or live in a group setting.

While vaccines have shown to be effective, there is still more to be learned about how they affect the spread of COVID-19. For now, the CDC recommends you continue to take these precautions:

  • Wear a mask on planes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation or U.S. transportation hubs, such as airports and stations. 
  • Follow state and local guidance, including at your workplace and local businesses.
  • Continue to watch out for COVID-19 symptoms, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms, you should get tested and stay away from others.

As the CDC continues to learn more about how the vaccines may help people from spreading COVID-19, as well as how long the protection may last, continuing to take steps to help keep yourself and others around you safe is important. Visit the CDC for the most up-to-date information and guidance.

For more COVID-19 resources, click here.