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April 15, 2021
We recently had news that Indiana residents 16 and older were now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. So, fresh in my inbox I had the question, “What can I safely do after being fully vaccinated?”
We know the numbers of fully vaccinated people will rise after the floodgates opened. So, let’s address that question. But first, let’s answer what it means to be fully vaccinated.
What does it mean to be fully vaccinated?
By the CDC definition it means you actually have to wait two weeks after receiving the second does of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after the one-shot dose of Johnson & Johnson.
The reason we have to wait two weeks is because our bodies need time to build up antibodies to fully to be able to protect us. So it’s really important we wait two weeks.
Now, when I say fully vaccinated it doesn’t necessarily mean fully protected. We know no vaccine can give us 100% effectiveness against any kind of attack. But we know Modern and Pfizer is about 95% based off the clinical trials. The Johnson & Johnson is a little bit lower at about 65% after two weeks, but if you wait almost a month it is closer to 85%.
What I like to tell my patients is to tell them to think about the flu shot. When we get the flu shot every year that doesn’t mean I’m not going to get the flu. I can still get infected with the flu, but the shot hopefully prevents us from getting seriously ill and hospitalization. So, if we think about the flu shot like the COVID-19 vaccine, we know we could still potentially get sick with the virus but hopefully we aren’t hospitalized, and we are reducing the death rate – which we are seeing with the vaccination process.
What can I do safely after being vaccinated?
First, we need to think about what it needs to be low risk when we’re vaccinated, and think about the people that aren’t vaccinated.
If I’m vaccinated, but I’m going to hang out with someone not vaccinated – can they safely be with me with my mask off?
The CDC says fully vaccinated people can be around other fully vaccinated people without social distancing and without having to wear a mask. However, I can also be around unvaccinated people as long as they are low-risk for potentially getting COVID-19. Meaning, you don’t want to hang out with people in the high-age category or those with high health risks.
The other thing that’s kind of cool is if I’m vaccinated, I don’t have to get tested or be quarantined if I’m exposed to COVID-19 and asymptomatic. The only time you will need to get tested is if you do have COVID-19 symptoms even if you’ve been fully vaccinated.
Make sure you let us know if you have any other burning questions about COVID-19 or employee benefits so we can answer them for you in Employers are Asking. Email us at email@example.com if you have a question!