Updated CDC Guidelines and What You Can Do to Stop the Spread

Guidance for Vaccinated Individuals

Who is Considered Fully Vaccinated? 

In general, people are considered fully vaccinated: 

  • 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or

  • 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine

What You Can Do if You are Vaccinated 

  • You can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.
  • You can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.

  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.

  • You need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States.

    • You do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it.

    • You still need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding an international flight to the United States.

    • You should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel.

    • You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.

  • 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 or work in a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.

What You Should Keep Doing, Even if You are Vaccinated

  • You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace and local businesses.

  • If you travel, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others.

  • Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on a ferry or the top deck of a bus). CDC recommends that travelers who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distance when traveling.

  • Fully vaccinated international travelers arriving in the United States are still required to get tested 3 days before travel by air into the United States (or show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months) and should still get tested 3-5 days after their trip.

  • You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.

  • People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken the immune system, should talk to their healthcare provider to discuss their activities. They may need to keep taking all precautions to prevent COVID-19.

Guidance for Unvaccinated Individuals

Get a COVID-19 Vaccine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized several COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use. Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at keeping you from getting COVID-19. Getting a COVID-19 vaccine will also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.

Once you are fully vaccinated, you may be able to start doing some things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.

Please consult the following resources for more information regarding the benefits of the vaccine and how you can get vaccinated: 

Wear a Mask

  • If you are not fully vaccinated and aged 2 or older, you should wear a mask in indoor public places.
  • In general, you do not need to wear a mask in outdoor settings.

  • In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, consider wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.

  • If you are fully vaccinated and have a condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system, you may need to keep taking steps to protect yourself, like wearing a mask. Talk to your healthcare provider about steps you can take to manage your health and risks.

  • Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on a ferry or the top deck of a bus). CDC recommends that travelers who are not fully vaccinated continue to wear a mask and maintain physical distance when traveling.

Stay 6 Feet Away From Others

  • Inside your home: Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • If possible, maintain 6 feet between the person who is sick and other household members.

  • Outside your home: Put 6 feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household.
    • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.

    • Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from other people.

Keeping distance from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.

Avoid Crowds and Poorly Ventilated Spaces

  • Being in crowds like in restaurants, bars, fitness centers, or movie theaters puts you at higher risk for COVID-19.

  • Avoid indoor spaces that do not offer fresh air from the outdoors as much as possible.

  • If indoors, bring in fresh air by opening windows and doors, if possible.

Wash Your Hands Often

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

  • It’s especially important to wash:

    • Before eating or preparing food

    • Before touching your face

    • After using the restroom

    • After leaving a public place

    • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing

    • After handling your mask

    • After changing a diaper

    • After caring for someone sick

    • After touching animals or pets

    • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Cover Coughs and Sneezes

  • If you are wearing a mask: You can cough or sneeze into your mask. Put on a new, clean mask as soon as possible and wash your hands.
  • If you are not wearing a mask:

    • Always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or use the inside of your elbow and do not spit.

    • Throw used tissues in the trash.

    • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Clean and Disinfect

  • Clean high-touch surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

Monitor your daily health

  • Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19.

    • Especially important if you are running essential errands, going into the office or workplace, and in settings where it may be difficult to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.

  • Take your temperature if symptoms develop.

    • Don’t take your temperature within 30 minutes of exercising or after taking medications that could lower your temperature, like acetaminophen.

  • Follow CDC guidance if symptoms develop

Other Ways to Help

Donate Blood and Plasma

Maintaining an adequate blood supply is vital to public health. Blood donors help patients of all ages and kinds – accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those battling cancer and other life-threatening conditions. The American Red Cross estimates that every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.

If you are healthy and feel well, contact a local donation center to make an appointment. Donation centers are taking steps to make sure donation is safe.

People who have fully recovered from COVID-19 are encouraged to consider donating plasma, which could potentially help save the lives of other COVID-19 patients. COVID-19 patients develop antibodies (proteins that might help fight the infection) in their blood. Learn more about donating COVID-19 convalescent plasma, which can be used to treat hospitalized patients, especially those who have severe cases of the disease.

Report Fraudulent Coronavirus Tests, Vaccines, and Treatments

Some people and companies are selling products with fraudulent COVID-19 diagnostic, prevention, and treatment claims. Fraudulent COVID-19 products can come in many varieties, including products marketed as dietary supplements or other foods, as well as products claiming to be tests, other medical devices, drugs, or vaccines. So far, the FDA has approved only one treatment for COVID-19, and has authorized others for emergency use during this public health emergency. 

The sale of fraudulent COVID-19 products is a threat to the public health. You can help by reporting suspected fraud to the FDA’s Health Fraud Program or the Office of Criminal Investigations. You can also email FDA-COVID-19-Fraudulent-Products@fda.hhs.gov.

If you have a question about a treatment or test being sold online, talk to your health care provider or doctor first. If you have a question about a medication, call your pharmacist or the FDA. The FDA’s Division of Drug Information (DDI) will answer almost any drug question. DDI pharmacists are available by email, druginfo@fda.hhs.gov, and by phone, 1-855-543-DRUG (3784) and 301-796-3400.