The COVID-19 vaccine is not a cure and won’t lower your risk of infection right away. It usually takes about 2 weeks after you complete the vaccination series for your body to have a good immune response.
The current COVID-19 vaccines require 2 doses to be completely protected. This means that it is still possible you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 before you complete the series and you could get sick because the vaccine did not have enough time to protect you.
You are considered immune 2 weeks after you receive your 2nd dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. You do not need to self-quarantine if you are exposed AND it has been at least 2 weeks since your 2nd shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. If you are exposed before this time, you need to self-quarantine.
You should isolate if you test positive for COVID-19 even after you have received the COVID-19 vaccine.
If you have not received 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested.
Talk to a doctor or a healthcare provider if you have COVID-like symptoms after getting 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. It is likely that something other than the virus that causes COVID-19 is causing your symptoms. However, your doctor may want you to get tested. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines do not interfere with the accuracy of COVID-19 viral tests.
Continue to wear a mask, physically distance, wash your hands often, and stay home if you are sick.
While scientists learn more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide under real-life conditions, it is up to everyone, including vaccinated people, to continue to do all the other things we’ve been doing to help stop this pandemic: wear a mask, stay 6 feet apart from people who don’t live in your home, wash your hands often, and stay home when you’re sick.
Right now, we know COVID-19 vaccines keep you from getting sick or having severe illness if you are infected with the virus that causes the disease. However, we don’t know yet if the vaccine will keep you from getting the virus and carrying it around in your nose or throat. This means there may be a chance you could still get the virus and spread it to other people, even if you never get symptoms. It is likely that recommendations on isolation, quarantine, and testing will change as we learn more about the COVID-19 vaccines.