After I get a COVID-19 vaccine, is it safe to visit in person with friends and family?
Answer From Daniel C. DeSimone, M.D.
After getting a coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that it's OK for fully vaccinated people to return to doing activities that they might not have been able to do because of the pandemic. This includes not wearing a mask or social distancing in any setting, except where required by a rule or law. As a result, after you are fully vaccinated you can safely visit in person with friends and family.
People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they get their second dose of an mRNA vaccine, such as Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, or two weeks after a single dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
However, if you are in an area with a high number of new COVID-19 cases in the last week, the CDC recommends wearing a mask indoors in public. The other exception concerns fully vaccinated people who have an underlying medical condition or are taking medications that weaken the immune system. If you fit this description, talk to your doctor about your activities. He or she might recommend that you continue to take extra steps to prevent getting COVID-19.
Also, continue to watch for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, get tested and stay away from others.
July 29, 2021
Daniel C. DeSimone, M.D.
See more Expert Answers
- Interim public health recommendations for vaccinated people. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated-guidance.html. Accessed May 13, 2021.
- When you’ve been fully vaccinated. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html. Accessed July 28, 2021.