Man hugs his grandchildren after receiving a COVID vaccine

CDC: What You Can Do Once You Receive Your COVID Vaccine 

More freedom to socialize and a return to routine activities are among the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, under guidelines released March 8 and updated May 13 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Once you are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19, it’s considered safe to resume activities you did prior to the pandemic and do not have to wear masks or physical distance, except for where required by law, rules or regulations, including local business and workplace guidance, according to the CDC. The state of Michigan has dropped its masking requirement for fully vaccinated individuals both indoors and outdoors as of May 15, and unvaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks outdoors.

Here’s how long it takes to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19:  

  • At least two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines  
  • At least two weeks after receiving the single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine  

Here’s what the CDC says people can do once they are fully vaccinated:  

  • Resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance
  • Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
  • Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States
  • Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings
  • Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic
  • Refrain from routine screening testing if feasible

For now, the CDC recommends individuals who are fully vaccinated continue to follow these best practices: 

  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms 
  • Follow guidance issued by individual employers 
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations 

These guidelines will be updated by the CDC in the future as more individuals become fully vaccinated and vaccine technology advances.  

Last updated: May 14, 2021. This content has been reviewed and approved by Dr. S. George Kipa, deputy chief medical officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

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Photo credit: Portra

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