So you have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and you wonder what you can safely do?
The general consensus in the medical field is that you can enjoy small gatherings again but should continue wearing a mask and social distancing in public.
In the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says fully vaccinated people can gather maskless with other vaccinated people indoors. It also says you can meet with unvaccinated people from one household at a time if those people are considered at low risk of severe COVID-19. In other countries, the guidance may vary.
In public, the CDC recommends that vaccinated people continue wearing masks, avoid large gatherings and stay apart from others.
No such guideline has yet been issued by the Turkish Health Ministry, however, the country says all citizens are required to wear masks, adhere to hygiene and social practices whether vaccinated or not. Gatherings are still not encouraged and curfews are still in place. The ministry says that not everyone will have the same level of protection after getting vaccinated and it is still the person's responsibility in society to protect those vulnerable by not flouting rules.
It is important to note that a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the last of the two required doses of vaccine.
Guidance on other activities for vaccinated people remains cautious worldwide. The CDC still discourages unnecessary travel, for example, and hasn’t yet made a recommendation about going to restaurants or other public places.
When it comes to international travel, the European Union, for example, has proposed "coronavirus digital green certificates" to allow movement in a "safe, responsible and trusted manner" for those who have received both doses of the vaccine. Culture and Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy recently told BBC 1 that Turkey may not require vaccination certificates from foreign tourists in the summer. He said the talks were ongoing about lifting negative PCR test requirements for British tourists if the U.K. maintains its current momentum with mass vaccination and a downward trend in COVID-19 cases.
The CDC and the Turkish Health Ministry expect to update the guidance to allow more activities as infections decline and vaccinations increase.
One reason to keep your guard up after getting one dose of a two-dose vaccine: infection while having partial protection sets up the potential for the virus to mutate, said Dr. Joshua LaBaer, director of the Arizona State University’s Biodesign Institute, speaking to the Associated Press (AP).