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Dr. Fauci Warns Never Do This After Your COVID Vaccine

Don’t let your guard down, says Dr. Fauci. You’ll still need a mask.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on This Week with George Stephanopoulos to address the question on everyone's mind: If you get vaccinated, can you act as if you're immune? The answer is no. And that's because it's possible you may spread the virus to someone else, someone you love. "You may inadvertently infect someone else, even though you are protected," he warns. Read on to find out what you should not do after getting vaccinated—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Signs Your Illness is Actually Coronavirus in Disguise.


Dr. Fauci Said Don't Let Down Your Guard After Getting Vaccinated

Woman with face mask getting vaccinated, coronavirus, covid-19 and vaccination concept.

After getting vaccinated, "you should still be careful," said Fauci, "you could conceivably have—because the end point of the vaccine efficacy trial is preventing symptomatic disease, which means that potentially theoretically, and maybe in reality, you're going to have infection that you don't get any clinical manifestation. So you could be protected from disease and still have virus. If that's the case, then that's the reason why you hear us all, all the public health officials, saying to wear a mask. And the reason is essentially to protect other people. You may inadvertently infect someone else, even though you are protected." 


Dr. Fauci Said We Don't Know if You Can Spread the Virus After Being Vaccinated, but Need to Assume So

Woman coughing in her elbow in grocery store.

"There will be a time, and I believe it will be reasonably soon, when we will know exactly whether or not a vaccinated person really has such a low level or none at all, a virus in their nasal pharynx, that will be based on data," said Fauci. "We have some preliminary data for some Israeli studies that the level of virus in the nasopharynx of vaccinated people is extremely low. If that's the case and the future studies show that it's that low, then you'll be pulling back on some of the restrictions, but you want to do it based on data, not on guessing."


Dr. Fauci Said If You and Someone Else are Alone and Vaccinated, You Could Relax a Bit

female friends in kitchen preparing together vegetarian meal

Said Fauci: "When you get to people that are vaccinated and protected together, like in a home setting, you can have two people that you would not need to" wear a mask, he said. "We're working with the CDC right now on trying to get updated reasonable recommendations of what we can tell vaccinated people to do as you get more and more people vaccinated."


Dr. Fauci Said Take Whatever Vaccine You Can Get

Doctor holding syringe, medical injection in hand with glove.

Stephanopoulos asked Fauci if people should be concerned that the J & J effective rate was less than the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. "We've got to get away from that chain of thought for the following reason," said Dr. Fauci. "The only way you really know the difference between vaccines is by comparing them head to head. We have three highly efficacious vaccines that are safe and efficacious. That's the bottom line and the J & J, if you look at them, particularly in things that we really care about, they're important. It's got greater than 85% efficacy after a severe disease and critical disease. And there were no deaths or hospitalizations in any of the countries that were tested. And remember they tested in the United States and South Africa and in South America—this is a good vaccine. I think we need to pull away from this comparing and parsing numbers until you compare them head to head, just be really grateful that we have three really efficacious vaccines. So bottom line, if you're offered a vaccine, whichever one you're offered, you should take it."


Dr. Fauci Says the #1 Priority Needs to Be Getting Vaccinated—and That He Would Take the J & J Vaccine

Female patient smiling behind the face mask and with her eyes, while getting flu shot

"The most important thing from a public health standpoint is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly and as if, and as expeditiously as possible," said Fauci. "I can tell you I'm vaccinated now, but if I were not vaccinated and I was going to go into a clinic and they said, 'Hey, we have J and J now, or you can wait three weeks or so to get another one,' I would take the one that is available to me now, because the quicker you can get vaccinated, the more quickly you will be protected. And you will add onto the overall protection in your county, in your country. I mean, to me, that that is a no brainer." So get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek