It’s imperative to continue wearing your mask, practice social distancing, and rigorously wash your hands even after receiving your second shot because: 1) it will take up to one week before you may be fully vaccinated and 2) there is between a 5% and 30% chance that you could still get the virus. Another reason to continue wearing a mask after you’ve been vaccinated is because unvaccinated people are unaware who has and hasn’t been vaccinated and wearing a mask shows that you are being socially responsible during challenging times.
It is currently unknown if vaccinated people can still pass the virus to unvaccinated people, so mask wearing and social distancing will be the norm until we reach herd immunity, which Dr. Anthony Fauci predicts won’t be until the end of 2021.
Peer reviewed studies have shown that the Pfizer vaccine was 95% at preventing symptomatic virus infection, Moderna’s vaccine was 94.1% effective, and AstraZeneca’s vaccine was between 70% and 90% effective.
Experts say that as more people get vaccinated, it may be possible to begin visiting with friends and family who have also been vaccinated, but it is important at least one week has passed since each person in the group has received their second dose. Additionally, the vaccines aren’t 100% effective, so there is a very slight, but not 0%, chance that a vaccinated person in the group could still catch the virus.
Most public spaces like restaurants and theaters will likely still remain closed or at reduced capacity, but experts mostly agree that you and your vaccinated companions could rent a vacation home and be relatively safe.
Cities, states, and regions will gradually reach herd immunity at various times throughout the coming months, which means certain parts of the country may begin to gradually loosen restrictions while others take some additional time.
When your immediate surroundings slowly become more immune you will likely see the gradual loosening of restrictions at restaurants, gyms, and entertainment venues. Mask wearing may continue to be mandatory for a given period of time, but that requirement may eventually be discontinued once full herd immunity is reached.
Domestic travel will slowly start to resume to some sense of normalcy as more people get vaccinated. As of now, domestic airlines only require a passenger to go through a temperature check in order to fly within the continental United States, but Alaska and Hawaii have at various times required a negative test. Most domestic airlines will offer a voucher if you have to cancel your trip because you or a member of your party contracted the virus before your scheduled trip.
Some other domestic travel options include a road trip around the continental United States. The vast majority of hotels offer free cancellation up to a certain period before your scheduled trip unless you chose to book a nonrefundable room. If that is the case and you or someone in your family contract the virus then you will need to contact the hotel directly and try to work out an agreement.
Additionally, some travel agencies will offer you the option to be flexible with your dates as long as you reschedule within a certain time period.
International travel potentially won’t fully resume until mid to late 2022, but that’s not to say we won’t be able to travel internationally at all before then. Instead, countries will develop their own rules and regulations determining who can and can’t enter their country.
Many countries will likely require a negative virus test before you and your family will be able to board an airplane or cruise ship, so it’s very important to ensure your entire family is not only vaccinated, but immune from the virus. Even if your whole family is vaccinated, there is still a 1 in 20 chance someone in the family could get the virus, so it is important to understand you’re taking a risk booking an international vacation before the world reaches herd immunity. There is always a chance of a false positive, so if you or a family member think the test is inaccurate you should always take an additional test to be sure.
Additional things to consider if you want to travel internationally is booking travel insurance and making sure it covers anything to do with the virus, whether your airline will refund you or give you a travel voucher if you or your family are unable to travel,
Life very well may not go back “to normal” for quite some time because it will many months to reach herd immunity for over 300 million people and many more until the entire global population reaches her immunity.