I’m vaccinated. Now what?
You’ve received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and it has been long enough for the vaccine to have taken full effect. Can you live your life freely now without worrying about the virus? Helmut Albrecht, MD, said not yet.
“While those who are fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine have a less likely chance of getting severely ill or dying from the virus, they should still take precautions while the community spread of the virus remains high,” said Dr. Albrecht. The COVID-19 vaccine has 95% efficacy. That does not mean it is 100% effective and COVID-19 is still out in the community.
So, what can change once you’ve had the vaccine?
Dr. Albrecht said it depends, first, on your risk.
A lower risk situation may be a visit with your healthy brother, while a higher risk situation may be a visit with your grandmother who recently went through a lung transplant. “Every choice is still a risk, but a lower risk situation may be one you take the chance on. The protection from the vaccine at this point isn’t enough to take that gamble on a higher risk situation,” he said.
It also depends on whether everyone has been vaccinated.
“The vaccine should make you feel safe to expand your bubble,” said Dr. Albrecht. If both parties have had the vaccine, it is going to be unlikely that you will find a scenario where you will transmit the virus. However, large events should still be avoided.
Do you still need to practice safety precautions?
Dr. Albrecht said continuing to follow safety precautions is still important and the best course of action. Wear a mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing.
He also offered two reminders:
- Those who are vaccinated should wait a couple of weeks after getting the second shot for the best protection.
- If you become exposed to the virus after being fully vaccinated, you do not have to quarantine but should wear a mask and monitor your symptoms.
“It will be a process. The more people get vaccinated, the less virus circulates in the community. Once that happens, it will be safer for scenarios without masks. We are not there yet.”
Have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine?
Find answers to frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, including how to get the shot.