COVID-19 vaccination doesn’t change need for precautions yet


Even after you’ve gotten the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s not justification to return to the way we lived pre-pandemic. Precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 apply even when you’ve been immunized.


Which precautions do we still need to follow after COVID-19 vaccination?


We need to follow all of the same requirements regarding wearing face masks, socially distancing and washing hands often. Receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine won’t change this.


Why do we still need to follow those precautions?


Although you might not get sick from COVID-19 after vaccination, it still may be possible for you to be infected and shed the virus, spreading it to others.


Additionally, most of the general population won’t receive the vaccine as soon as others. Health care workers and nursing home residents will receive the vaccine early, but that still leaves many in the community susceptible to infection. Given these factors, we must maintain our well-established precautions to protect the most vulnerable people until we can all be vaccinated.


What if I’ve had COVID-19 and fully recovered?


You likely won’t be excluded from vaccination if you’ve had COVID-19. We don’t know how long natural immunity will last, so vaccination may still help keep you safe. In fact, some scientists think that vaccination may be more effective than natural immunity in preventing you from contracting COVID-19.


And even if you’ve had COVID-19, those same precautions—masking, social distancing and handwashing—still are important.



Nicholas Kman is an emergency medicine physician at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, a professor in the Ohio State College of Medicine and a disaster responder with Ohio Task Force 1, FEMA Urban Search and Rescue.