Recommendations Offered for People Fully Vaccinated for COVID-19

More than 600,000 Alabama residents have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 so far, and as the numbers of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths decline nationwide and the percentage of the population vaccinated increases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued its first set of public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people.

Masks or other facial coverings will no longer be mandated after April 9 in Alabama, but masks remain one of the most successful tools to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Many businesses and healthcare facilities, including public health departments, will continue to require facial coverings in their facilities. Hospitals and nursing homes are under federal guidance that supports the use of facial coverings, and it is anticipated that the requirement for facial coverings will remain in place at those facilities.

According to the CDC, current guidance applies to people who are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two or more weeks after they have received the second dose of a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or two or more weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson).

Some recommendations have changed, but others have remained the same. In non-healthcare settings, fully vaccinated people can:

  • Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing
  • Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic

For now, the CDC advises that fully vaccinated people should continue to:

  • Take precautions in public, like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing
  • Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease (older age, pregnancy, people with certain medical conditions) or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
  • Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households
  • Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings
  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Follow guidance issued by individual employers
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations

CDC notes this guidance will be updated and expanded based on the level of community spread of SARS-CoV-2, the proportion of the population that is fully vaccinated, and the rapidly evolving science on COVID-19 vaccines.

There continue to be many unknowns about COVID-19, such as threats posed by emerging new variants and how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine, however, may significantly lower your chances of severe disease. Alabama’s supply of safe and effective vaccine continues to increase and soon everyone who wants to be vaccinated will have vaccine available to them. Exercise your personal responsibility and encourage your family, friends, and community to get vaccinated.

Scott Harris, M.D.
State Health Officer