Fully vaccinated? Get the facts

By Mayo Clinic Staff

August 25, 2022

Poster for video

New COVID-19 guidelines for those who are fully vaccinated

Melanie Swift, M.D., COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation and Distribution, Mayo Clinic: The promise of vaccine all along has been getting back to life as normal, and we can see a little glimmer of that now, which is very exciting. But you do need to understand what it means to be fully vaccinated.

Being fully vaccinated means that you have finished your vaccine, whether that’s one dose or two, and two weeks have passed. You do need two weeks for your immune system to mount its full response. You are then considered fully immunized.

If you’re fully vaccinated, you can now be safely with other people in your private life, in your home or their home, if they are also fully immunized. So that means you can have a friend over for dinner if you are fully vaccinated. And you don’t have to stay six feet apart.

If you’re fully vaccinated, you can be in the same house, unmasked in close proximity to someone who’s unvaccinated who’s low risk. It needs to be limited to two households together at one time. A grandparent that’s fully vaccinated and doesn’t live with their grandchild who’s unvaccinated can now safely give that child a hug.

When you start bringing in people from multiple households, then you really do start to increase the risk of transmission.

If you’re fully vaccinated, when you’re at work and when you’re in public, just assume that there are people around you that are probably unvaccinated and keep your mask on.

It takes a long time to vaccinate a country and we do need to keep our morale up. We do need to give people a glimpse, a little motivation for sticking with the precautions where they need to so that they can stay motivated to keep our community safe so that everyone can get back to normal.

Key takeaways

After you are fully vaccinated, you can more safely return to doing activities that you might not have been able to do because of the pandemic. However, if you’re in an area with a high number of people with COVID-19 in the hospital and new COVID-19 cases, the CDC recommends wearing a well-fitted mask indoors in public, whether or not you’re vaccinated.

You’re considered fully vaccinated two weeks after you get a second dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, two weeks after you get a second dose of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine, or two weeks after you get a single dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. You are considered up to date with your vaccines if you have gotten all recommended COVID-19 vaccines, including booster doses, when you become eligible.

Some fully vaccinated people will still get COVID-19 if they are exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. These are called vaccine breakthrough infections.

People with vaccine breakthrough infections may spread COVID-19 to others. However, fully vaccinated people with a breakthrough infection are less likely to have serious illness with COVID-19 than those who are unvaccinated. Even when vaccinated people develop symptoms, they tend to be less severe than those experienced by unvaccinated people.

More about being fully vaccinated from COVID-19