Do I still need to be tested for COVID-19 if I am vaccinated?
Now that many people are fully vaccinated there are many questions about returning to activities and controlling the pandemic. Those who are fully vaccinated (at least two weeks out from their final dose) can resume some activities like unmasked gatherings with other vaccinated people. While fully vaccinated people may not need to be tested as often, there are still situations where it is important to get a COVID-19 test.
If a vaccinated person develops symptoms of COVID-19 following exposure, such as fever, cough or fatigue, they should still be tested. If they do not have any symptoms they do not need to be tested. The risks of contracting COVID-19 are pretty low once you are vaccinated, however if symptoms appear or your situation makes it important to go get tested then you still should. If you work with high-risk people or live with an unvaccinated family member it may be worth getting tested even if you do not have symptoms, but have had exposure.
If you start experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 even if you have not had a confirmed exposure, you should still get tested. You want to make sure to prevent transmission and take care of yourself in that case. No vaccine is perfect and breakthrough cases do occur.
When traveling you will need to check the requirements of where you are going if outside the U.S. and with your airline, as many destinations and airlines require negative tests before your trip as well as after your trip. All international flight passengers coming into the U.S., even those who are fully vaccinated, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 3 days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months before boarding a flight to the United States. 3-5 days after travel you also need to get tested. Cruise lines may also require proof of a negative test, regardless of vaccination status.
For your place of work, testing may still be required whether you have been vaccinated or not, for instance healthcare workers and those that work in prisons and at homeless shelters may need to be tested regularly due to higher risk of outbreaks and employer requirements.
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should still self isolate for 10 days from when symptoms first appeared, until it has been at least 24 hours with no fever without fever-reducing medication and other symptoms are improved.