Vaccine questions

Infectious disease physician provides answers to common post-vaccine questions.

Nearly 10% of people in the United States have received at least one of the two COVID-19 vaccination shots, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the vaccine becomes more widely available, questions about what to do post-vaccine are becoming more common.

Jennifer Veltman, MD, chief of Infectious Disease at Loma Linda University Health, provides answers to common questions from people after they received the COVID-19 vaccine.

After being vaccinated, can I hug others? What if they are also vaccinated?

Unfortunately, we don't have that answer. Vaccine studies were designed to answer the question of "Am I protected from those experiencing symptoms from COVID-19?" The vaccine studies were not set up to answer questions about prevention and transmission. We hope to have an answer soon.

After being vaccinated, should I still continue to wear masks and social distance? 

For now, vaccinated and unvaccinated alike need to follow the current Department of Public Health recommendations (i.e., wearing masks and social distancing). We can lower our guard and stop with masks only when community spread decreases and is recommended by the Public Health Department.

After being vaccinated, can I still transmit COVID-19 to others? 

Yes. A vaccine that requires two doses takes 7-14 days after the second dose for full protection, and even then, it’s 95% — not 100% — effective.

If I have flu-like symptoms, should I still get COVID-19 tested? 

If you experience symptoms consistent with COVID-19 that last for more than 48 hours, you should still get tested for COVID-19.

What can I do to slow the spread?

Wear a mask to protect yourself and others, stay at least six feet from others who don't live with you, and avoid crowds. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19. It's also important to wash your hands often and for at least 20 seconds.

If you or someone you love is interested in learning more about COVID-19, visit our coronavirus information webpage. If you or someone you love is interested in learning more about the COVID-19 vaccine, see this article on your biggest COVID-19 vaccine questions, or you can visit our COVID-19 vaccines webpage.