I Got the COVID-19 Vaccine. Now What?

Published: February 18, 2021

Michael Parry, MD, Director, Department of Infectious Diseases and Asha K. Shah, MD, MS, Associate Director, Department of Infectious Diseases

Congratulations on your COVID-19 vaccine, a very important decision for your health and for the safety of those around you.

If you just received your vaccine a short time ago, you may be wondering what to do next, or what’s not so safe to do. Here are some immediate next steps the infectious diseases experts at Stamford Health recommend:

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  • Enroll in v-safe, the after-vaccination health checker from the CDC, at vsafe.cdc.gov.
  • Continue to practice the 4 Ws: Wear a mask, Wash your hands, Watch your distance and Wipe down surfaces.
  • Follow all CDC and state guidelines on travel and gatherings. Plan to see loved ones virtually whenever possible. Please don’t assume the vaccine prevents spread of the virus to others.
  • Encourage others to stay on top of their health by making an appointment once they’re eligible for the vaccine.

Below are answers to some questions you may have:

Q: Do I really need the second injection?

A: Yes. It is crucial to get both doses so you can have optimal protection against COVID-19.

    Q: I decided to put many doctor appointments on hold over the past year. Is it safe to go back to the doctor?

    A: Yes, and at Stamford Health, we never stopped caring for the community or putting everyone’s safety top of mind. It’s important not to delay care due to concerns around COVID-19. If you don't have a doctor, we can help you find one that meets your needs.

    Q: I'm so pleased to have received the vaccine. Can I throw a socially distanced party now without worry?

    A: Not exactly. The vaccine is an important tool in the fight against COVID-19, but not a free pass to resume “normal” life. Our hope is that we will get to a place where COVID-19 is no longer dominating our lives. In the meantime, hang in there.

    Q: Can I eat in a restaurant or go to the salon?

    A: This all depends on your personal comfort level. If you trust that these places you frequent are taking all precautions, then venture out at your own risk.

    Q: Can I plan my big, international getaway?

    A: Traveling remains risky right now. The State of Connecticut still has travel restrictions in effect and it is highly encouraged that you take them into consideration when making plans.

    Q: I'm immunocompromised, but fully vaccinated against COVID-19. What does this mean for me?

    A: It’s still important to be extra careful if you are immunocompromised because it’s possible that the vaccine may not be 100% effective depending on your underlying health condition. When in doubt, practice the 4 Ws as mentioned above.

    Q: I understand I still need to wear a mask even though I’m vaccinated. Does it matter what type of mask I wear now?

    A: It does. According to the CDC, a well-fitting mask is the best mask. This means making sure the mask fits snugly against your face without any gaps. This guideline applies to both cloth and medical procedure masks. This page on the CDC website explains how to improve the fit of your mask.

      Featured Expert/ Author

      Infectious Disease, Internal Medicine

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