Vaccinated? Great. Travel this spring? Here’s the latest guidance

April 8, 2021

More of our community members are receiving the available COVID-19 vaccines every day, which is really great news.

With this happening across the nation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced interim guidance for fully vaccinated individuals and households. Here are a few simple things to keep in mind this spring.

With three Emergency Use Authorization-approved vaccines as of this writing, fully vaccinated has different definitions. Pfizer and Moderna are two-dose shots, so that means you must complete both and then allow the antibodies to build up for two weeks before adhering to this new guidance. For Johnson & Johnson, it is simply two weeks after the shot, since it is a single dose.

Why are the two weeks important? Because it takes roughly two weeks for your body to create antibodies and build up immunity.

Now that we understand what fully vaccinated means, here is what the CDC suggests is OK:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic.

The CDC is also clear that masks and face coverings are still very important for fully vaccinated individuals.

  • Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing
  • Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
  • Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households
  • Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Follow guidance issued by individual employers
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations.

Situations are still rapidly changing around the world regarding COVID-19. More data is being collected and studied by scientists and physicians every day.

Things are looking promising on the horizon, especially here in Sussex County and in Delaware, but it is impossible to think what 2022 might look like compared to now. COVID-19 variants, long-term vaccine effectiveness, and reaching herd immunity all will play a part going forward, which is why this guidance is only interim as we continue to learn.

At Beebe, we continue to ask you to follow these simple rules: Wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance in crowds. These actions can save lives, and we are still all in this together.

William Chasanov, DO, is an infectious disease physician, clinical transformation director and medical director of Beebe Employee Health at Beebe Healthcare.

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