How to stay safe before getting the COVID-19 vaccine

It is important to continue to follow health advice until you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
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Ireland is making good progress with the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, with many people now fully vaccinated. However, the virus hasn’t gone away just because the vaccination process has started. If you are waiting to be fully vaccinated, it is important that you continue to take all of the necessary health precautions to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

How can I protect myself against COVID-19 if I haven’t been vaccinated?

By continuing to make simple changes in your daily life, you can greatly reduce the risk of catching the virus. If you are currently waiting to be vaccinated, you should continue to:

  • Wear a face mask on public transport, in shops and in other public indoor settings
  • Wear a face mask anywhere physical distancing is not possible
  • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly
  • Use hand sanitiser after being in public places or using public transport, and wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you have access to water and soap
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects
  • Try to avoid touching your nose and mouth 
  • Try to avoid gathering in large groups or crowds

Learn more about how to protect yourself from COVID-19.

Why should I continue to take COVID-19 precautions?

With many people in Ireland now fully vaccinated, it might be tempting to take on a more relaxed approach to COVID-19 safety. However, it is important to continue to take safety precautions before getting your COVID-19 vaccine. People who have not yet been fully vaccinated are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Getting infected will also delay your vaccine and risks spreading the virus to others.

I’m the only person in my friend group who has not been vaccinated. Is it ok to meet up again?

If your friends and/ or family are all fully vaccinated and you are not, it is important to continue following COVID-19 safety guidelines. It is still possible to get and spread COVID-19 after vaccination. Although the vaccine reduces the risk of serious illness, a vaccinated person can still catch the virus and infect other vulnerable people.

As more people in Ireland are vaccinated, the restrictions are gradually being eased. However, while some socialising is now allowed, as an unvaccinated person, it is particularly important to follow the safety guidelines closely.

If you have not received your vaccine, there are still some ways that you can safely spend time with friends. You can currently have visitors from one other household to your home. You can also dine outdoors at a cafe, restaurant or bar with a maximum of five other people, or enjoy a walk with some friends. It is best to try to socialise outdoors where possible. While COVID-19 can be passed between people outdoors, the chances of it happening are much lower than in indoor settings.

Read more about the current COVID restrictions in Ireland.

I have received my first vaccination. Does this mean I am protected?

If you have only received the first dose of a two dose vaccine (such as Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca), you are not yet fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and should continue to follow measures to protect yourself. If you have received the Janssen vaccine, you will not be considered fully vaccinated until the waiting period has passed. See below for a list of waiting periods. 

Read more about getting your COVID-19 vaccine.

I have received the final dose of my vaccine. Does this mean I am protected?

It is important to remember that you are not fully vaccinated until you have received all doses of your vaccine and have waited the necessary waiting period. Once this waiting period has passed, you are considered fully vaccinated. This means that your vaccine is offering you the highest level of protection it can offer. The waiting period is:

  • 14 days after the Janssen vaccine
  • 15 days after the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine
  • 7 days after the second dose of the Pfizer Vaccine
  • 14 days after the second dose of the Moderna vaccine
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