What does being fully vaccinated against COVID really look like?

Dr. McGeorge answers your questions about life after vaccination

Dr. McGeorge answers your questions about what it means to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

The number of people in Michigan who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus is growing every day -- but many viewers have questions about what that really means.

Individuals are considered “fully vaccinated” against the virus two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks after receiving a single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

But once you are fully vaccinated, what changes? What stays the same?

Local 4′s Dr. Frank McGeorge is answering your questions about being fully vaccinated below (you can also see his answers in the video above.)

After I am fully vaccinated, is it safe to go out wearing a single mask instead of double masking?

Absolutely -- it’s all about risk tolerance.

Once you are fully vaccinated, you are well protected.

If you are in a high risk situation -- a crowded area, for example -- a double mask might give you a little extra security. But, overall, once you are vaccinated, a single mask should be adequate.

If I am fully vaccinated and learn I have been exposed to COVID-19, should I get tested?

This is the exact wording from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Vaccinated people can “refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic.”

Meaning: You don’t need to get tested for coronavirus if you don’t have symptoms.

However, if you do have symptoms, you should get tested.

Remember: None of the COVID vaccines are 100% effective, so some fully vaccinated people will still contract the virus -- though they’ll likely have a milder case than they would have without the vaccine.

I’m a 76-year-old high risk grandmother and it’s been 17 days since I received my second vaccine. Tomorrow I have an opportunity to see my grandchildren for the first time in months. My 16-year-old grandson was sent home from school yesterday after having sat at the lunch table with someone who has tested positive. Should I not go to see them tomorrow, or will social distancing be OK?

For this viewer -- and other high risk individuals in similar situations -- I would recommend delaying your visit. Just because you are fully vaccinated doesn’t mean it is a good idea to knowingly walk into a high risk situation.

To the viewer: After your grandson’s quarantine is over, you can enjoy that long-awaited reunion.

If I have already taken both doses of the Moderna vaccine, would I be safer by taking a another, different vaccine, like the Pfizer and/or J&J?

No. There is no need to get another vaccine after you complete the course of any of the current vaccines.

An additional booster shot may be necessary down the road, but that is still being studied.

Dr. McGeorge, how have things changed for you now that you’re fully vaccinated?

As someone who received their second vaccine dose in January, I can say that not much has changed in my life since being fully vaccinated.

I still wear a mask whenever I go out in public, avoid crowded places and I haven’t traveled yet. At work, I wear an N-95 mask and follow all of the recommended precautions when seeing patients.

The only real change is that I am less worried when I visit with my in-laws, because I know my risk of unknowingly being infected is much lower than it was before.

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Questions about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge

About the Author:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.