The Riskiest Things You're Doing After You're Vaccinated, CDC Says

If you find yourself in these situations after getting your shot, proceed with caution.

If, like half of the U.S. population, you've recently become vaccinated against COVID, you may be straining to once again adjust to a new normal—this time, one of relative freedom. But for many people, after spending over a year on high alert, it's hard to imagine returning to our pre-pandemic ways.

For now, maybe that's a good thing. While finally getting the COVID jab means you can begin to reassess your risk level, there's a good case to be made for cautious and incremental re-entry. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stresses that there are still certain activities that pose more risk than others, and most social scenarios still require masks for optimal safety—even after you get your shot. Read on to find out which activities are riskiest after vaccination, and for more on the COVID vaccine, Dr. Fauci Says Your COVID Vaccine Protects You For This Long.

Spending time with a higher percentage of unvaccinated people

People carry out an elbow pump

One key to your post-vaccination safety will be knowing the vaccine status of others that you gather with. The fewer fully-vaccinated people in a given group, the more likely you are to contract a breakthrough infection.

The CDC points out that because children cannot currently be vaccinated, you should limit how many households with children gather at once, and kids should continue to wear masks when getting together with others. The health authority says that vaccinated adults can attend this type of event without a mask as long as it's held outdoors, but advises continued mask wearing when inside with unvaccinated individuals. And for more COVID vaccine news sent directly to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Visiting indoor settings with poor ventilation for long periods of time

Group of people watching movie after Coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing

Before and after vaccination, you should plan to avoid indoor settings with poor ventilation. This is one of the highest risk environments because aerosolized droplets can linger in the air for longer in places with limited airflow, the CDC says. For now, this may rule out malls, movie theaters, casinos, elevators, certain types of public transportation, some bars and restaurants, and more. And for more on your post-vaccination risk, The CDC Is Warning You to Avoid This One Place, Even If You're Vaccinated.

Visiting places where physical distancing isn't possible

Shot of a group of young people wearing masks on the street in the cold weather

According to the CDC's guidelines, "Fully vaccinated people can participate in many outdoor activities without a mask at low risk to themselves or to others."

However, being outdoors can create a false sense of security, given that certain outdoor activities are still considered to be risky—for example, a crowded outdoor concert. For now, you should continue to wear a mask any time you expect to be in a crowd, the CDC says.

Doing activities that involve heavy breathing near others

A group of mixed aged people do yoga outdoors with face masks on to stop the spread of COVID

According to the CDC's guidelines, activities that involve "singing, shouting, physical exertion or other heavy breathing" are considered higher risk, even after vaccination. To safely participate in these types of activities (for instance, workout classes or other group sports, choir singing, or religious services that require participation), you should plan on wearing a mask and distancing wherever possible. And for more on places you should continue to avoid, The CDC Says These Are the "Least Safe" Places You're Going Right Now.

Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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