Sleeves up — Let's end the pandemic

Friday, June 11, 2021

Doctor in medical mask giving COVID-19 vaccine shot to a senior female patient.

Vaccines are here, bringing hope of the pandemic’s end. But even when you get your vaccine, it won’t mean an immediate return to life as you knew it. As of May 13th, the CDC announced if you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask. Hopefully, the new guidance will encourage more Americans to roll up their sleeves. “Get vaccinated — or wear a mask until you do.”

The guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools and other venues — even removing the need for social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.

Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?

People are considered fully vaccinated:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine

If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated.

Scientists cite several reasons for staying masked and cautious as you start your post-vaccine life. Vaccines don’t offer perfect protection. We don’t yet know whether vaccinated people can spread the virus, and coronavirus is likely to continue it until a large majority of the population is vaccinated or has survived a natural infection.

Vaccination provides the best way to move forward.

When can I return to normal life after being vaccinated?

If you are fully vaccinated, the CDC says you can gather indoors or in outdoor settings with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask. But continue to be cautious when near unvaccinated people or in large gatherings. The unvaccinated will still remain vulnerable to getting infected. Continue to wear a mask, wash your hands, and social distance. Life will return to normal only when herd immunity is achieved.

Information is based on guidance from the CDC. Vaccination timelines differ by state. For the most up to date COVID-19 vaccine information, check with your local health department.


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