With the COVID-19 vaccine rollout underway in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released the first set of public health recommendations for fully vaccinated persons. For the purpose of the guidance, the CDC considered people fully vaccinated for COVID-19 ≥2 weeks after they received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or ≥2 weeks after they received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen).
While the recommendations were highly anticipated, patients (fully vaccinated or not) might still ask their health care provider questions regarding when to take precautions, what gatherings they can or cannot attend, and more. In the slides below, find questions that you might be asked by patients and the answers to help you prepare.
Patient: “What can I do now that I’m fully vaccinated?” According to the CDC, fully vaccinated persons can:
• Visit with others who are fully vaccinated indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
• Visit with unvaccinated persons from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing.
• Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic.
Patient: “Do I still need to take precautions in public now that I’m fully vaccinated?” In public spaces, fully vaccinated persons should continue to follow guidance to protect themselves and others, including wearing a well-fitted mask; maintaining physical distance; avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces; covering coughs and sneezes; washing hands often; and following any applicable workplace or school guidance.
Patient: “My parents and I are all fully vaccinated. Can we gather indoors?” Indoor visits between fully vaccinated persons who do not wear masks or physically distance from each other are likely low risk. For example, if you are fully vaccinated, it is likely a low risk for you to invite other fully vaccinated persons to dinner inside your home.
Patient: “I am fully vaccinated, but my 20-year-old daughter is not. What is the risk level of us gathering inside our home?” Indoor visits between fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people who do not wear masks or practice physical distancing are likely low risk for those vaccinated. For this reason, the CDC recommends that you determine the level of precautions to take based on what you know about the behavior of the unvaccinated people, who remain unprotected against COVID-19.
Patient: “I’m fully vaccinated and want to invite my 32-year-old sister and her 10-year-old child over for dinner. How safe would it be?” If unvaccinated people are from a single household and are not at risk of severe COVID-19, they can visit with fully vaccinated people indoors, without face masks, with a low risk of transmission. For example, fully vaccinated grandparents can visit indoors with their unvaccinated healthy daughter and her healthy children without taking preventive measures, provided none of the unvaccinated family members are at risk of severe COVID-19.
Patient: “I’m fully vaccinated and want to visit my dear friend and her husband; they aren’t vaccinated yet and he has COPD. Is that a risky situation?” If any of the unvaccinated people or their household members are at increased risk of severe COVID-19, all attendees should wear face masks, maintain physical distance, and gather outdoors or in a well-ventilated space. For example, if a fully vaccinated person visits with an unvaccinated friend who is 70-years-old, they should see each other outdoors, wear well-fitted masks, and maintain physical distance.
Patient: “My husband and I are fully vaccinated and want to invite several unvaccinated couples to our house for dinner. What is the risk in this situation? Do we need to wear masks?” If unvaccinated people come from multiple households and visit vaccinated persons, there is a higher risk of disease transmission among them. For this reason, all attendees should take precautions including wearing a well-fitted mask, maintaining physical distance, and visiting outdoors or in a well-ventilated space.
Patient: “My husband and I are fully vaccinated and want to invite several unvaccinated couples to our house for dinner. What is the risk in this situation? Do we need to wear masks?” (cont.) For example, if fully vaccinated grandparents are visiting their unvaccinated daughter, her children, and the daughter’s unvaccinated neighbors, the visit should take place outdoors and all attendees should wear face masks and maintain physical distance. This is due to the risk of virus transmission the 2 unvaccinated households pose to one another.
Patient: “I’m fully vaccinated and a group of my neighbors is gathering at the cul-de-sac in my neighborhood. Do I need to wear a mask and stay 6 feet from others?” All people, regardless of vaccination status, should adhere with current guidance to avoid medium- or large-sized gatherings and follow any applicable local guidance restricting gathering size. If they do choose to participate, fully vaccinated people should continue to adhere to prevention measures that reduce transmission.