Do I need to go back to work after I’ve been vaccinated?

Mass COVID-19 vaccinations are quickly becoming a reality as states and local municipalities continue to vaccinate first responders, educators, and health care workers.

Most states have policies and procedures to disseminate the vaccine to those most vulnerable down to the average healthy American. 

The timeline for the general population to have access to the vaccine is quickly approaching, and some estimates indicate it could be widely available as soon as late February or early March 2021

The countdown to immunity

There are currently two primary vaccines making their rounds to the first groups of patients. The Pfizer vaccine recorded an impressive 95% efficacy rate and the Moderna vaccine came in slightly lower at 94.1% efficacy for COVID-19. 

Each of these vaccines are more effective against their target virus than the common flu vaccine which is only 40% to 60% effective each year. This is a great sign and may be the first step in eradicating COVID-19 for good.

Initial studies show the Pfizer vaccine may offer immunity after the first seven days after receiving the second dose of the vaccine.

The second COVID-19 vaccine dose is administered 21 days after the first dose, which indicates the earliest you may be immune is one month after your first shot.

In contrast, the second dose of the Moderna vaccine is given 28 days after the first and may only offer immunity after 14 days after the second dose.

Even after a month, there is still a 5% to 5.9% chance you will still not be immune to COVID-19 after receiving the vaccination.

Life after receiving a vaccination

Mask mandates and current Center for Disease Control guidelines will likely remain in effect for much of 2021.

According to Dr. Timothy Brewer, a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA says there will be no “immediate change” in our society.

The reason for this is tied to multiple factors, including the reluctance of many to be vaccinated. According to the latest poll from Gallup, only 61% of men and 54% of women are willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine. 

That’s a far cry from the estimated 70% of the population that would either need to have recovered from COVID-19 or received immunity from the vaccine to stop the current epidemic. 

Another unknown is the length of time people will keep their immunity due to either being previously infected or from the vaccine. Ongoing studies and research will be needed before life as we knew it has any chance of returning.

In addition to the above-stated unknowns, there is also a chance the current strain of COVID-19 can mutate, rendering the current vaccines ineffective. While problematic, medical experts believe new vaccine variations could be created and adjusted more quickly than the initial COVID-19 vaccination.

Going to work after being vaccinated

Due to the unknowns, it’s likely most businesses will continue with the current restrictions until a major reduction in infections is recorded.

After receiving the vaccine, you are still susceptible to spreading and contracting the virus if your body does not create the antibodies needed to kill COVID-19 immediately. 

If you’re currently working remotely, you can expect your current employer to keep you at home for the foreseeable future, even if you have received the vaccine.

Again, this is entirely dependent upon your local restrictions and guidelines in conjunction with your company’s business practices.

Modeling best behaviors

Even if your vaccine is effective, modeling proper social distancing and CDC mask guidelines is important to guard against others becoming desensitized to the risk.

Other people will not know if you have been vaccinated, and we want to avoid unsafe trends that put our most vulnerable at increased risk.