The month of October always means a few things: There’s a new chill to the air, leaves are changing colors, and many families are already making holiday plans. With the Covid-19 pandemic still ongoing, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has urged people to delay travel until they are fully vaccinated, meaning now is the time to schedule a Covid-19 vaccine if you want to gather with extended family on Thanksgiving. Yes, now.
What Is The CDC Recommending For The Holidays?
As of Oct. 7, the CDC had yet to release updated Covid-19 guidance for the 2021 holiday season. However, in guidance pertaining to small and large social gatherings issued in mid-August, the CDC noted that virtual gatherings or in-person gatherings limited to just the people you live with are ultimately “the safest choice.” Additionally, the CDC has also urged unvaccinated individuals to delay domestic travel until they become fully vaccinated.
But that doesn’t mean health experts have recommended Americans ditch plans for in-person gatherings altogether. Earlier this week, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci said fully vaccinated individuals would most likely be able to enjoy a “normal” Christmas holiday. “I will be spending Christmas with my family,” Fauci told CNN. “I encourage people, particularly the vaccinated people who are protected, to have a good, normal Christmas with your family.”
What Does It Mean To Be Fully Vaccinated?
According to the CDC, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they’ve received the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after receiving Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Janssen vaccine.
How Long Does It Take To Get Fully Vaccinated?
The length of time needed to be considered fully vaccinated ultimately depends on the Covid-19 vaccine you’ve received. Since the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine must be administered in two doses that are delivered three weeks apart, an individual receiving that vaccine needs to wait five weeks in total until they are considered fully vaccinated. For example, that means if you receive your first dose of the Pfizer vaccine on Oct. 11, you’d receive your second dose on Nov. 1 and be considered fully vaccinated as of Nov. 15.
Alternatively, individuals who receive the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine will have the shortest wait as they are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving the shot.
Meanwhile, doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine must be administered one month apart from each other, according to the FDA. As a result, any individual receiving the Moderna vaccine will need to wait at least six weeks until they are considered fully vaccinated.
How Can I Get Vaccinated?
Simply visit Vaccines.gov to find information on local vaccine providers. Those in search of a Covid-19 vaccine can also call 1-800-232-0233 or text their ZIP code to 438829 to discover local vaccine providers.
Your state’s health department may also have information on where Covid-19 vaccines are being administered. Additionally, your local pharmacy or health care provider may be able to schedule a Covid-19 vaccination appointment for you.