U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

10/15/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/15/2021 17:09

Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People

Currently approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccines protect people from getting infected and severely ill, and significantly reduce the likelihood of hospitalization and death.[i] Fully vaccinated people are less likely to become infected and, if infected, to develop symptoms of COVID-19 compared with unvaccinated people. Even when fully vaccinated people develop symptoms, they tend to be less severe symptoms than in unvaccinated people. This means they are much less likely to be hospitalized or die than people who are not vaccinated. However, people who get vaccine breakthrough infections can be contagious and spread the virus to others.

In general, people are considered fully vaccinated (Annex) against COVID-19:

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or
  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson's Janssen vaccine

There is currently no post-vaccination time limit on fully vaccinated status. People are considered not fully vaccinated if they have not completed vaccination, cannot be vaccinated, or are not eligible for vaccines, including children less than 12 years of age.

Data suggest immune response to COVID-19 vaccination might be reduced in some immunocompromised people including, but not limited to, people receiving chemotherapy for cancer, people with hematologic cancers such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia, people receiving stem cells or organ transplants, people receiving hemodialysis, and people using certain medications that might blunt the immune response to vaccination (e.g.,  mycophenolate, rituximab, azathioprine, anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies, Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitors).

People who are immunocompromised should be counseled about the potential for reduced immune responses to COVID-19 vaccines and the need to continue to follow current prevention measures (including wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others they don't live with, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces) to protect themselves against COVID-19 until advised otherwise by their healthcare provider. CDC also recommends that people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine after the initial 2 doses. Close contacts of immunocompromised people should also be encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

This guidance provides recommendations for fully vaccinated people, including:

  • How fully vaccinated people can safely resume many activities while protecting others.
  • How fully vaccinated people should approach domestic and international travel.
  • How fully vaccinated people should approach isolation, quarantine, and testing.

CDC will continue to evaluate and update public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people as more information, including on Delta and other new variants, becomes available. Further information on evidence and considerations related to these recommendations is available in the Science Brief.