Do I still need to wear a mask if I’ve been vaccinated?

Do I still need to wear a mask if I’ve been vaccinated?

By Dr. Henning Ansorg, M.D., FACPHealth Officer County of Santa Barbara, Department of Public Health

Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released updated outdoor/indoor mask and face covering guidance for fully vaccinated individuals. This is good news as it demonstrates that COVID-19 vaccines are effective at reducing the risk of contracting the virus or experiencing severe symptoms from the virus.

To be “fully vaccinated,” it means that at least two weeks have passed since a person has completed their vaccine series (this means two weeks after receiving the second shot of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of Johnson & Johnson).

The new guidelines allow fully vaccinated people to be without masks outdoors unless they are in a crowded environment, such as at a sporting event, concert or parade. Mask-free activities for fully vaccinated people include exercising outside, dining outside, or gathering with small groups outdoors.

People who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated must continue to wear masks outdoors when around other unvaccinated people, as well as when dining outdoors and at crowded events. 

It is important to know that all people, whether they are vaccinated or not , are advised to wear masks indoors when around other people they do not live with, regardless of the activity.  For more information about local public health orders, guidance, and vaccine distribution in Santa Barbara County, please visit: