Hugging friends, getting a professional hair cut, eating dinner in a restaurant – these are the simple things many of us longed for during the pandemic. Now, all of these activities are once again permissible for those fully vaccinated against COVID-19. But what will life really be like after vaccination?
In the US, widespread vaccination is rapidly changing the pandemic landscape. As of mid-May 2021, 48 percent of US citizens have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and a further 37 percent have been fully vaccinated.1 Even more promising, while the number of vaccinated individuals is growing, COVID-19 cases are decreasing across most of the United States.2
This positive news has been reflected in the relaxation of lockdowns and other COVID-related restrictions across the country. Many states have either reopened or set reopening dates,3 conjuring the tantalizing prospect of normalcy.
Post vaccine phase
What does it mean to be fully vaccinated? According to CDC guidance, you’re considered fully vaccinated two weeks after you’ve received the second dose of a two-dose vaccine, or two weeks after you receive a single-dose vaccine.4
The CDC has just released new guidance on what it’s safe to do once you’ve been inoculated. This is the moment many have been waiting for over the last year – public health officials state that it is now safe for the fully vaccinated to resume life as normal. This includes socializing indoors without a mask, eating in restaurants and traveling.
As we move into the summer months, you should be able to enjoy many familiar acivities. Theme parks are reopening; for instance, Disneyland in California reopened at the beginning of May. Miss seeing live music? Concerts and music festivals are coming back – you can attend Lollapalooza in Chicago this July. In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has promised a summer to remember when the city fully reopens on July 1.5
But for many, the biggest gift of being fully vaccinated is the ability to spend time with loved ones and go about daily activities without fear of infection.
While the science says life can return to the way it was pre-pandemic , this doesn’t necessarily mean things will look exactly as they did a year and a half ago. There have been some large-scale shifts in the way we live and some of these changes are likely to stick.
Beyond work, there are some who feel nervous about stepping back into the world, despite being fully vaccinated. These feelings are perfectly normal and can stem from a variety of places: a lingering fear over the virus, worries over variants or resistance to changing the COVID-19 routines they’ve built. For some, the pandemic has motivated positive change in their lives. It’s been a chance to slow down, spend more time with family, exercise more or embrace new hobbies. People who have enjoyed the silver linings of the pandemic may be reluctant to let their new lifestyles go.
Despite easing of restrictions, many Americans feel it will still be a while before things feel like they used to. According to a Pew Research study, 57 percent agree that it will be a year or more before public activities return to pre-COVID-19 levels.6
You may already be fully vaccinated – or patiently waiting your turn. Either way, there’s no right way to emerge from lockdown. Make the best decisions for yourself – and your family. We’ve all been through a lot over the last year, so keep taking care of yourself and those around you.
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