First of all, congratulations! You are one of the 96 million Americans that have been fully vaccinated. COVID-19 vaccines are effective in the fight against this deadly virus and now that you are fully vaccinated, you may be able to start doing some of the activities you stopped due to the pandemic.

Whether you received the PfizerModerna, or Janssen/Johnson and Johnson vaccine, I know what you’re thinking: When will life finally get back to normal? What can I do now that I am fully vaccinated?

Well, here are some of your questions answered.

Am I allowed to see my friends and family now that I am vaccinated?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you can now do the following without having to wear a mask or socially distance:

  • Visit other fully vaccinated people indoors
  • Meet indoors with one other unvaccinated household if they do not have an increased risk of COVID-19
  • Attend small outdoor gatherings with unvaccinated and vaccinated people

Remember…fully vaccinated means at least two weeks after your second dosage of the Modern or Pfizer shot, or two weeks after the single Johnson and Johnson shot.

If you’re still a little confused about what activities you are able to start doing, be sure to check out the CDC’s safe activities chart.

I’ve been in contact with someone who has COVID-19. Do I need to quarantine?

If you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others nor do you have to get tested unless you are showing symptoms.

Can a COVID-19 vaccine give me the virus?

It can definitely be confusing when trying to understand how vaccines work. The Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen/Johnson and Johnson vaccines do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19. Therefore, the COVID-19 vaccines cannot make you sick with the virus.

Is it normal to feel side effects after the COVID-19 vaccine?

Don’t worry! It is completely normal to be experiencing the following side effects:

  • Pain in injected arm
  • Redness in injected arm
  • Swelling in injected arm
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle Pain
  • Nausea
  • Fever

If you received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccination, side effects can be more severe after the second dose, but completely normal.

Can I take a vacation? 

People who are fully vaccinated may now find it easier to travel within the United States and internationally.

The CDC states that you do not need to get tested before or after travel, nor do you have to self-quarantine after travel within the United States.

Before you travel internationally, make sure you understand the requirements at your international destination. Some destinations are safer to travel to than others, so keep that in mind before you travel.

Because travel increases the chance of spreading and getting COVID-19, make sure to take these steps to keep you and others safe:

  • Follow state, local, and international guidelines when traveling
  • Wear a mask when in public and on all forms of transportation including planes, buses, and trains
  • Watch for symptoms of COVID-19

If you are really getting the travel jitters but are still nervous about travel, experts recommend planning your trip for late summer/early fall so you have something to look forward to.

Can I test positive for COVID-19 even after receiving the shot?

The short answer is maybe. Scientists are still trying to understand how vaccines prevent you from spreading the virus. According to the CDC, we still don’t know how long COVID-19 vaccines protect people. Variants of COVID-19 are present within the United States, and current data shows that the COVID-19 vaccines should work against the variants. The CDC states that they will continue to monitor the variants and their impact on fully vaccinated individuals.

The COVID-19 vaccination process is an essential tool to get life back to normal. Whether you want to go on that long-needed vacation, or return to our everyday activities, we all must do our part to protect ourselves and the ones around us.

Remember to wear a mask and continue to follow CDC’s updated guidelines as well as your local and state laws.

Life will be back to normal sooner than you think.