Originally posted January 18, 2021; most recently updated March 24, 2021
Q: Do individuals need to wear a mask and avoid close contact with others if they have received two doses of an mRNA vaccine or a single dose of the (J&J) vaccine?
A: Yes. While experts learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, including efficacy of the vaccine to the circulating COVID-19 variants, it will be important for everyone to continue using all the tools available to us to help stop this pandemic, like wearing a mask, washing hands often, and staying at least 6 feet away from others when in public, when gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one other household and when visiting with an unvaccinated person who is at increased risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 or who lives with a person at increased risk.
However, some reassuring news released by the CDC in early March, suggests that if you’ve been fully vaccinated:
- You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
- You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
- If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.
Q: When will the need for masking and social distancing be over?
A: There is not enough information currently available to say if or when the CDC will stop recommending that people wear masks and avoid close contact with others to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Vaccinations are a key step toward making this possible.