I’m Vaccinated. Now What?

Slowly but surely, New Yorkers are becoming vaccinated against COVID-19. As of March 22, 5.2 million people in the state (26.1% of the state's population) have received one or both doses.

Bruce Polsky, MD, cautions people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine to continue following safety guidelines. 

Even if you’ve been vaccinated, Bruce Polsky, MD, says to remain vigilant about safety precautions—especially around people you don’t live with. He explains why.

  • Continue to use masks and socially distance. “We don’t know how protective the current vaccines are against variant strains of the virus. It’s still advisable to wear masks and socially distance if you are together.”
  • It’s not clear yet whether vaccinated people can still spread the virus to others. Dr. Polsky said a good benchmark for change would be when 75% or more of the US population becomes fully vaccinated—a threshold known as herd immunity. “The aim is to provide enough immunity in the population so that the virus doesn’t have anywhere to go, and ultimately peters out. That’s when we’ll get back to a semblance of normalcy.”
  • You can take Advil or Tylenol to quell reactions from the vaccine: “It’s okay to take anti-inflammatories if you’re uncomfortable from the reactions to the vaccine, which are totally expected after the second doses because it means the immune system is gearing up and doing its job.” What’s not advisable, Dr. Polsky adds, is taking Advil or Tylenol before getting the shot to try preventing side effects. 
  • Whether or not you’re vaccinated, you can visit stores and salons: “As long as you still observe mask wearing and social distancing, and as long as you’re going to facilities that follow protocols like proper disinfection and number of occupants, it’s okay to do these things.”

To learn more about COVID-19 vaccines, please visit Which COVID-19 Vaccine Should You Get? Any of Them