An Update from DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Are you fully vaccinated?

More than 435,000 Idahoans are now fully vaccinated, and another ~146,000 Idahoans have received one dose of a two-dose series. If you are one of the 16 and older Idahoans who have chosen to get the COVID-19 vaccine, I want to thank you for protecting yourself, your family and friends, and your community.

One quick reminder: Anyone 16 and older is now eligible to get the vaccine, and the vaccine is free to you. There are no out-of-pocket costs.

Many people in Idaho have chosen to get the vaccine as soon as it was available. There are others who are busy with kids or work or other priorities and are waiting to get the vaccine when it is more convenient. In the coming weeks, you will see vaccine providers (such as local pharmacies) working to make the vaccine more easily available to you.

You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose in the two-dose series of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. If you received the J&J vaccine before the pause, you are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after getting the shot.

What happens after you are fully vaccinated?

If you have been fully vaccinated:

  • You can gather indoors with others who are fully vaccinated, and no mask is needed.
  • You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.

For now, even if you are fully vaccinated, there are some things that have not changed just yet. For example:

  • You should avoid medium or large gatherings.
  • You should still watch for symptoms of COVID-19.
  • You still need to follow guidance at your workplace.

What we know about vaccines

We know that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing COVID-19 disease, especially severe illness and death. And, we know that other prevention steps (wearing face coverings, physical distancing, staying home and getting tested if sick, washing hands often) help stop the spread of COVID-19, and that these steps are still important, even as vaccines are being administered throughout Idaho.

What we are still learning

We’re still learning how effective the vaccines are against variants of the COVID-19 virus. Early data show the vaccines may work against some variants but could be less effective against others. We are all still learning about how well the COVID-19 vaccines keep people from spreading the virus, but early data does show that the vaccines may help keep people from spreading COVID-19. And, we are still learning how long COVID-19 vaccines can protect people. You can keep up-to-date on the latest information through the coronavirus website.

I understand that some people are hesitant about taking any vaccine, and I understand that things that are new can be disconcerting, but if we want to put this global pandemic in the rearview mirror, choosing to get a COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective way to get our state, and our country, back to normal.

I hope you all have a safe and healthy weekend.  

2 thoughts on “An Update from DHW Director Dave Jeppesen: Are you fully vaccinated?

  1. Gary Hoesing

    Last week, My wife and I enjoyed a great outing and lunch in Nampa. No masks / only smiling
    happy faces in the restaurant. :). :). When looking at the 7 day moving average infection rate for
    ADA vs. CANYON Counties, Canyon is obviously enjoying better health, less covid, w/o/ masks.
    When can we expect Ada to follow suite?

    1. idhwmedia

      There is currently no mask mandate in Ada County, but there is one in Boise. Local agencies (Central District Health, Southwest District Health, and cities) may have different policies in place depending on how much virus is circulating in their communities. While we still recommend that people choose to follow the recommended guidelines to reduce the risk to getting COVID-19 whether there are mandates or not, we also understand that it’s a choice.

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