COVID-19: Updated Mask Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

DHS Logo Original 07/11/2018


Updated Mask Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

This bulletin is being sent to local health officers, tribal health directors, COVID-19 vaccinators, public health nurses and staff, infection preventionists, subscribers to DHS Health Alert Network and DQA Notifications, and key DPH staff.

On Thursday May 13, the CDC released updated guidance that fully vaccinated people can resume activities they did before the pandemic, including participating in indoor and outdoor activities – large or small – without wearing a mask or physically distancing. Fully vaccinated people can also refrain from testing following a known exposure unless they are residents or employees of a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter.

A person is considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if it has been two or more weeks since they got the second dose in a two-dose series (such as Pfizer or Moderna), or one dose of a single-dose vaccine (such as Johnson & Johnson).

Important Exceptions to Updated Mask Guidance:

  • Health care settings
  • K-12 Schools
  • Places where masks are required by local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including: local businesses and workplaces
  • Residents and employees of correctional and detention facilities and homeless shelters
  • Travelers on all planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations

Mask wearing, regardless of vaccination status, continues to be an important COVID-19 mitigation strategy in schools, correctional facilities, homeless shelters, and other settings where additional regulations exist. This includes wearing a mask when traveling into, within, or out of the United States.

As of now, the CDC’s school guidance remains unchanged. Most students will still be unvaccinated and schools should follow CDC’s guidance for schools. Teachers, school administrators, and staff should continue to follow CDC’s school guidance until more people and children are vaccinated. Students and staff on buses should continue to follow all masking and physical distancing guidelines.

This updated guidance reflects scientific consensus on the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines against circulating strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Studies show that COVID-19 vaccines are more than 90% effective in real-world settings in preventing mild and severe disease, hospitalization, and death. Individuals who are fully vaccinated can start returning to normal activities.

DHS is currently working on updating websites and publications to include updated guidance for fully vaccinated people. We continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19.