As new COVID-19 vaccination phases open and more people get vaccinated, it is starting to feel like the end of the pandemic is in sight. Although the COVID-19 vaccines are a huge step in the right direction, it does not mean that the pandemic is over. It is important to continue to stay vigilant and follow all COVID-19 regulations and guidelines even after vaccination.  

Research has shown that the vaccines are effective at protecting those vaccinated from severe illness or death from COVID-19. However, there is still research to be done about whether you can spread COVID-19 to others after you have been vaccinated. We do know that is it possible for asymptomatic carriers to spread the virus.  

It is important that you continue to mask upback up and wash up unless you are around others who you know are fully vaccinated and who are not at high risk.  

Keep Following COVID-19 Guidance

It takes around two weeks for your body to build protection against the virus. After you receive your dose(s) you still need to follow these COVID-19 recommendations and guidelines: 

  • Wear a mask! 
  • Stay 6 feet away from others. 
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated areas. 
  • Wash your hands often. 
  • Delay unnecessary domestic and international travel. If you must travel, check out the Safe Travel During a Pandemic blog.
  • Follow state, local, and workplace COVID-19 guidance.

Gathering & Masking

After you are fully vaccinated for 14 days it is recommended that you continue to avoid medium to large gatherings. However, you can gather under the following circumstances: 

You can gather indoors without a mask if everyone is fully vaccinated. Remember to keep gatherings small and follow safe gathering guidance. 

You can gather with a low-risk and healthy unvaccinated individual without masks. Unless someone has an increased risk for serve illness from COVID-19. 

Continue to mask up and back up while on campus, in public, or attending large gatherings.  

Quarantine and Isolation After Getting Fully Vaccinated

Individuals exposed to COVID-19 are not required to quarantine, but should still monitor for symptoms if they:  

  • Have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days, and are not living in a congregate setting. 
  • Are asymptomatic. 
  • You still need to follow normal quarantine guidelines after receiving your first dose of Pfizer or Moderna.

Health care workers who meet the above criteria do not have to quarantine from community or  work settings unless they develop symptoms in the 14 days after exposure. If a HCW develops any signs or symptoms during those 14 days they should seek testing and isolate.  

If you are around or exposed to someone with COVID-19 you do not need to quarantine, isolate, or get tested unless you develop symptoms.  

If symptoms develop or you have questions, please contact Ask-A-Nurse. 

The path back to “normal’’ life is not something we can rush down. Continue to protect yourself and others by staying vigilant and continuing to mask up, back up, and wash up even after you receive your COVID-19 vaccine. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Ask-A-Nurse message line at 507.457.2292 or by e-mail at askanurse@winona.edu. 

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Ashley Bader

Ashley is graduating in 2021 with a major in Public Health: Epidemiology and a minor in Statistics. Her interests include listening to music and spending time with her friends, family, and pets.

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