Now that over 40% of Americans are at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19, millions are ready for a virus-free summer.
But while restrictions have begun easing up across the country, it’s still important to recommend appropriate health measures in case of further infection spread. This post summarizes the latest safety recommendations for partly and fully-vaccinated patients and how pharmacies can move forward from here.
According to the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated if they are:
- Symptom-free 2 weeks after their second dose of a 2-dose series, such as Pfizer or Moderna
- Symptom-free 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine like Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
Research has found that partial vaccinations can provide a significant amount of protection, but patients should still be encouraged to complete the vaccination series.
COVID-19 Safety Update
Last month, the CDC released new and welcome guidance for fully-vaccinated citizens.
According to the update, people who have been fully-vaccinated can essentially resume the activities they enjoyed before the pandemic. And unlike unvaccinated or partly-vaccinated people, they no longer need to wear a mask or social distance in public places.
In many cases, they also don’t have to get tested or self-quarantine and can travel freely around the country.
With schools finishing for the year and summer on the way, everyone wants to be outdoors. And outdoors is still the safest place to be!
The CDC’s guidelines still suggest continuing to limit activities to smaller groups outside, but there’s no reason to put off that family barbecue, especially if everyone is vaccinated.
The list of safe activities includes:
- Outdoor exercise
- Outdoor gatherings
- Indoor and outdoor dining
- Outdoor live events like performances, parades, or sports events
Traveling With the COVID-19 Vaccine
The CDC recommends that people delay travel until fully-vaccinated. After that, they can feel free to travel domestically without getting tested, showing negative test results, or self-quarantining before or after travel. They can also refrain from testing before boarding an international flight and from self-quarantine on their return, though they may need to produce a negative test before re-entry.
Previously, the CDC recommended against international travel for non-vaccinated travelers and strongly recommended testing and self-quarantines before and after any international flights.
But keep in mind that many countries still operate under strict travel regulations when it comes to incoming travelers. Before your patients travel, remind them to look into the travel restrictions and requirements at their destination. They still may need to provide proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test, or undergo a mandatory quarantine before or after entering another country.
Ongoing Best Practices for Patient and Pharmacists
While the US is getting closer to achieving herd immunity, the world is nowhere near COVID-free yet. Continue to take proper precautions at your own pharmacy and among your staff and encourage patients to do the same.
CDC guidance updates offer new suggestions for fully-vaccinated patients, but they don’t take the place of current or future regulations. Make sure your pharmacy’s patients know that federal, state, and local laws still apply and that local businesses and workplaces can still require masks, social distancing, and routine testing.
And while fully-vaccinated people are considered safe, even if exposed to the virus, it is still possible for them to get infected later on. The CDC and other health organizations will continue to monitor worldwide activity and potential infectious strains of COVID-19.
Let your patients know that it’s still a good idea for them to get tested if they experience any COVID-19 symptoms and to look for and follow any health and travel recommendations.
At Digital Pharmacist, we’re committed to helping and supporting pharmacies as they administer COVID-19 vaccines and offer preventative care.
Learn more about how our Patient Engagement Platform and vaccination features can help your pharmacy by scheduling your free demo today.