In early March, the federal government finally made teachers and other educators across the country eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine from any vaccine provider, if they so choose. At the time, ATPE called this a “first step toward normalcy.”
Since then, many educators have taken advantage of this opportunity to receive the vaccine and may now be wondering what this means for them. The federal government hopes that every eligible adult will have access to the COVID-19 vaccine by May. If all goes well, normalcy will return.
If you’re one of the educators who has been vaccinated, congratulations! But what does it mean, exactly, to be vaccinated? Are you safe to gather with other vaccinated people now? What about unvaccinated people? Is it still recommended that you wear a face covering in public?
To help you navigate your newly vaccinated (or soon-to-be vaccinated) reality, we have compiled a list of useful information and links.
Sharing Your Information Online
You may have seen your fellow educators, family members, and friends posting their vaccination cards on social media. It may seem like a harmless bit of celebration—something that, let’s be real, we could all use these days—but the Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns people to think twice before posting.
“[Y]our card has your full name and birthday on it, as well as information about where you got your vaccine. If your social media privacy settings aren’t set high, you may be giving valuable information away for anyone to use.”
According to the BBB, scammers have been copying that information and producing fake vaccination cards to sell. If you’re not careful, your information could be used to create phony cards.
What should you do instead? Among taking other safety measures, the BBB recommends sharing a photo of your vaccination sticker, if you received one, or using a frame on Facebook. There are plenty of ways to let your friends know you’ve been vaccinated without accidentally sharing sensitive information!
What’s Safe to Do Now that I’m Vaccinated?
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a list of safety guidelines for those who have been vaccinated. (Note that someone is considered “fully vaccinated” two weeks after receiving the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or two weeks after receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.)
According to the CDC, fully vaccinated people can:
- Gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.
- Gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without masks, if they aren’t at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
That said, the CDC still recommends taking steps to protect yourself and others by:
- Washing your hands frequently.
- Avoiding large crowds.
- Staying 6 feet apart from others in public.
- Wearing a mask in public or when around large groups of unvaccinated people.
You can find a full list of “do’s-and-don'ts” at the CDC website. It’s useful to know how best to protect yourself and your fellow educators!
What Does Being Vaccinated Mean for My Work?
Visit the ATPE COVID-19 FAQs and Resources webpage for up-to-date answers to questions such as “Am I required to share my vaccination status with my district?” and “Are teachers and other district employees required to get the COVID-19 vaccine?”
Learn more at atpe.org/coronavirus.