vaccine

Updated May 14, 2021

Update: On May 13, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidelines for fully vaccinated people. People who are fully vaccinated can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by laws, rules, or regulations established by a government, business, or workplace.

Please note: All visitors to UPMC facilities, including hospitals or ambulatory locations, must continue to wear a facemask that covers their nose and mouth, even after they are fully vaccinated. For more information, see our updated visitor policy. We thank everyone for their cooperation.

Millions of Americans have received their COVID-19 vaccinations.

It remains important to take steps to avoid the spread of COVID-19. But as people become fully vaccinated, they can begin to resume some of the activities they put on hold because of the pandemic.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated guidelines on what people can do once they are fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without masking or physical distancing, except where required by law or regulations. Please note that these guidelines only apply to fully vaccinated people.

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When Am I Fully Vaccinated for COVID-19?

You are considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if:

  • Two weeks have passed since your second dose of a two-dose vaccine (i.e. Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna)
  • Two weeks have passed since you received a single-dose vaccine (i.e. Johnson & Johnson/Janssen)

If less than two weeks have passed since your final dose, or if you have only received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, you are NOT fully vaccinated.

Do I Still Need to Wear a Mask After Being Fully Vaccinated?

According to the CDC, people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can participate in many activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing.

In general, activities that are outdoors are the lowest risk once you are fully vaccinated.

According to the CDC, outdoor activities where it is safer to go without a mask once fully vaccinated include:

  • Walking, running, wheelchair rolling, or biking outdoors with members of your household
  • Attending a small outdoor gathering with family and friends who are fully vaccinated
  • Attending a small outdoor gathering with people who are not fully vaccinated
  • Dining at an outdoor establishment with people from multiple households
  • Attending a crowded outdoor event, like a live performance, parade, or sports event

Indoor activities where fully vaccinated people may go without a mask or physically distancing, according to the CDC, include:

  • Gathering indoors with people who are fully vaccinated
  • Attending a small indoor gathering with a mixture of fully vaccinated and not fully vaccinated people from multiple households
  • Visiting a barber or hair salon
  • Going to an uncrowded indoor shopping center or museum
  • Going to an indoor movie theater
  • Attending a full-capacity worship service
  • Singing in an indoor chorus
  • Participating in an indoor, high-intensity exercise class
  • Going to an indoor restaurant or bar

 

When Should Fully Vaccinated People Wear a Mask?

Even after being fully vaccinated, you should continue to wear a mask where required by law, rule, or regulation, including those set by governments, businesses, and workplaces.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania updated its masking policy to reflect CDC guidance. People who are fully vaccinated can gather without a mask in non-health care settings, except where required by laws or regulations, including local business and workplace guidances.

UPMC is still requiring all visitors to our facilities, including hospitals and ambulatory locations, to wear a facemask that covers their nose and mouth and to practice safe physical distancing, even after you are fully vaccinated. We thank you for your cooperation.

According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people are still required to wear a mask on public transportation into, within, or out of the United States. That includes planes, buses, trains, and more. You also must continue to wear a mask inside transportation hubs like airports or bus stations, even once fully vaccinated.

Vaccination does not guarantee that you will not get sick from COVID-19 or be contagious to others if you are exposed to the virus. If you are vaccinated and become sick, you should seek care and be tested for COVID-19.

People who have compromised immune systems are less likely to have a good immune response to the vaccine and may remain vulnerable. Masking is important protection if you or a loved one has a compromised immune system, even if vaccinated.

Mask Guidelines For People Who Are Not Fully Vaccinated

If you are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should continue to wear a mask in most public places. You should also avoid crowds and keep 6 feet of physical distancing from people not from your household.

According to the CDC, you can go without a mask when exercising outdoors with people from your household, and when you attend a small outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated people. In most other situations, you should continue to wear a mask.

The CDC also highlighted activities that are more and less safe for people who are not fully vaccinated, even when you are wearing a mask:

The safest activities if you wear a mask is attending a small outdoor gathering with a mixture of fully vaccinated and not fully vaccinated people.

Less safe activities, even if you are wearing a mask, include:

  • Dining at an outdoor restaurant with people from multiple households
  • Visiting a barber or hair salon
  • Going to an uncrowded indoor shopping center or museum
  • Attending an indoor gathering with a mixture of fully vaccinated and not fully vaccinated people from multiple households

The least safe activities, even if you are wearing a mask, include:

  • Going to a crowded outdoor event (i.e. concert, sporting event, parade)
  • Going to an indoor movie theater
  • Attending a full-capacity worship service
  • Singing in an indoor chorus
  • Going to an indoor restaurant or bar
  • Participating in an indoor, high-intensity exercise class
Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Choosing Safer Activities. Link

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, When You've Been Fully Vaccinated. Link

About UPMC

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient centers, with locations in central and western Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and internationally. We employ 4,900 physicians, and we are leaders in clinical care, groundbreaking research, and treatment breakthroughs. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as one of the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals.