You did it! You got vaccinated! Thank you for doing so. It helps not only protect you but the community at large. We bet that you’re ready to start returning to some of the activities you gave up in March 2020, including travel. If you are, please keep some things in mind.
The COVID-19 vaccines currently in use are highly effective.
Real world data has shown that their nearly 100 percent effective at preventing hospitalization and death amongst fully vaccinated individuals. In fact, Washington State has only observed a breakthrough rate of 0.01%, which is fantastic. Being fully vaccinated means you can do a lot of things again, such as:
- Gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or social distancing
- Gather indoors with unvaccinated people of any age from one other household without masks or social distancing unless one of the participants is at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- Travel domestically, or return from international travel without getting a negative COVID-19 test or self-quarantining (Note: if you’re traveling internationally, you might still need a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country you’re visiting. Do your research before you go).
- Unless you live in a group setting (like a correctional facility or group home), you don’t need to quarantine after an exposure to COVID-19 as long as you don’t develop symptoms.
Reminder: After receiving your second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or your Johnson & Johnson shot, you need to wait two weeks for immunity to build in your system. After that two week period, you’re considered fully vaccinated.
That said, COVID-19 vaccines aren’t get out of jail free cards.
There is still a risk that you could contract COVID-19 and spread it to loved ones or close contacts. This means that when traveling you should:
- Keep wearing masks- and two if you can- especially on airplanes, in public spaces and when gathering with unvaccinated individuals from multiple households.
- Avoid large gatherings or events, especially when indoors, where people don’t remain in fixed locations, engage in activities that pose great risk for spread (singing, exercising, shouting, etc…) or wear masks aren’t or can’t be worn.
- Monitor for COVID-19 symptoms, and if any develop get tested right away.
- Avoid visiting unvaccinated individuals who are at increased risk for poor health outcomes after traveling or being in public spaces for prolonged periods.
- Follow your workplace guidance on quarantine when returning, which may be more strict than what is outlined here.
We’re all looking forward to increased travel and activity–but we’re not quite out of the woods yet. Please, continue to be smart and practice good behaviors. Wear your mask, practice social distancing in public or with unvaccinated individuals, wash your hands frequently (like, all the time and for lots of reasons it’s just a good thing to do).
If you’re planning a trip and are nervous about some of the circumstances, we’ve included a handy flow chart that can help guide you towards the best decision for your situation.
We’re in this together and we’ll get through this by protecting our community together.