For months, your patients have looked forward to the day when they could finally get vaccinated against COVID-19. Now the day has arrived or will be here soon, and they may be wondering exactly what that means for them.
Yet as long as the virus that causes COVID-19 is going around, there’s still a chance you could get infected. Even if you don’t get sick yourself, experts are still learning how well the vaccine stops you from spreading the virus to other people. It’s important to keep taking steps to protect yourself and others, even after you get the vaccine.
Can I Hug My Grandkids Again?
If you’re a grandparent, seeing your grandchildren is probably at the top of your post-vaccination wish list. Good news! Even though young family members may not have gotten a vaccine yet, hugs are allowed in certain situations.
When you’re fully vaccinated, you can visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease. No mask or physical distancing required. According to the CDC, you’re considered fully vaccinated:
- Two weeks after your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines
- Two weeks after your Johnson & Johnson vaccine
But when you’re getting together with unvaccinated people from more than one household, follow original precautions:
- Visit outdoors when you can—it’s lower risk than indoor gatherings.
- Stay 6 feet apart (air hugs are unlimited).
- Both adults and kids should mask up, but don’t put a mask on a child younger than 2 years old.
When Can I Return to Traveling?
More good news: The CDC says it’s safe to travel within the U.S. once you’re fully vaccinated. No need to get tested before or after the trip (unless, of course, your destination requires it).
Remember though, many people have not received a COVID-19 vaccine yet. So if you travel, follow these steps to protect others:
- Road trips. Prioritize avoiding crowds. Pack snacks and water so you need to stop less. And for restaurant meals, choose drive-through or takeout rather than dining in.
- Air travel. Wear your mask at all times. It should have two or more layers of breathable material, cover your nose and mouth completely, and fit snugly on the sides. For even more layers, you might want to wear two masks at once, as long as that doesn’t impair your breathing. Pack extra masks, disinfectant wipes, and hand sanitizer in a carry-on bag. At the airport, maintain 6 feet between yourself and others not traveling with you.
- Hotel stays. Use mobile check-in and contact-free payment, if possible. Wear a mask in the lobby and other common areas.
Getting vaccinated doesn’t mean you can forget about the pandemic. But with precautions, you can enjoy your post-vaccine life.
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