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CDC Says "Don't Do" This After Getting Your COVID Vaccine

Don’t think you’re immediately protected.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek
Woman wearing a face mask

The CDC has some important advice for anyone getting their vaccine: Don't think you're protected from COVID-19 after your shot. It takes time for the vaccine to work (and even then is not 100% effective). "COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19, and this protects you from getting sick with COVID-19," says the CDC. But it takes time. Read on to see when each vaccine is effective—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

The CDC Says Don't Think You Have Immediate Protection. It Takes a Few Weeks For Your Body to Build Immunity After Getting Vaccinated.

First of all, the vaccine does not make you sick with COVID-19. "None of the authorized and recommended COVID-19 vaccines or COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19," says the CDC. "There are several different types of vaccines in development. All of them teach our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. Sometimes this process can cause symptoms, such as fever. These symptoms are normal and are a sign that the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19. 

"It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) after vaccination," says the CDC. "That means it's possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection."

So how long should you wait until you can feel protected?

Says the CDC: 

  • "You will only need 1 shot of the viral vector COVID-19 vaccine, Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.
  • It takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines that require 2 shots may not protect you until about 2 weeks after your second shot. For COVID-19 vaccines that require 1 shot, it takes about 2 weeks after vaccination for your body to build protection."

RELATED: If You Feel This You May Have Already Had COVID Says Dr. Fauci

The CDC Asks That You Continue to Wear a Mask After Vaccination

Also, remember to continue to wear a mask after getting vaccinated. You could still potentially spread the virus to someone else—and the vaccine is not 100% effective, so could still ostensibly get COVID yourself.

"Being protected from getting sick is important because even though many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness, have long-term health effects, or even die," says the CDC. "There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you, even if you don't have an increased risk of developing severe complications."

So follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.