There are currently three versions of the COVID-19 vaccination available Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson. As we move through the vaccination process it is important to be aware of what comes after being vaccinated and what to expect. Both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require 2 doses to be fully vaccinated. The second dose of Moderna comes 28 days after the initial shot, while the second dose of Pfizer occurs 21 days after. The Johnson and Johnson vaccination only requires one dose. It is important to understand that regardless of the vaccination type you receive you are only considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your final dose (or original dose with Johnson and Johnson). Until you are fully vaccinated you should continue to follow all recommended safety precautions.
If you still have not received your vaccination make sure that you talk to your doctor before getting vaccinated. This is an opportunity to discuss any possible interactions or side effects the vaccine may have with any of your current medications. Additionally, you should prepare yourself for the common vaccination side effects. Common symptoms include arm tenderness, nausea, headaches, tiredness, chills, and fever. To help mitigate these symptoms you can use a cool washcloth or light exercise to cope with arm tenderness and drinking lots of fluids, dressing lightly, and getting plenty of sleep to address other symptoms.
Two weeks after the final dose of your vaccine you will be fully vaccinated with new opportunities available. You can feel free to visit with other fully vaccinated individuals indoors and visit with family and friends from another household again without masks. Additionally, if you do come into contact with a COVID positive individual you will no longer need to quarantine unless you are experiencing symptoms. If you do happen to come into contact with a COVID positive individual in between your two doses you will need to quarantine like normal but this should not stop you from getting your second dose.
While you do have more freedom to see your loved ones again it is important to observe safety practices to keep yourself and others healthy during this time. It is important to note that the U.S. will not reach heard immunity until around 85% of the population is vaccinated. It is important to stay 6 feet away from others, continue to avoid medium to large gatherings, avoid unnecessary travel, and continue to wear your mask in public. Additionally, it is vital to understand that the CDC understands the vaccine will protect you from contracting COVID but they are unsure if you can continue to spread the virus. This highlights the importance of proper safety precautions, especially in public to keep the rest of the population safe.
If you want more resources about COVID-19 vaccinations and what to expect after vaccination check out these resources:
When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated: How to Protect Yourself and Others
What Happens When You Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?
Possible Side Effects After Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine