Should you sanitize after getting a COVID-19 vaccine?

Updated: May 3, 2021

Woman surrounded by a group of people and smiling.
A new "post-pandemic" world awaits.

COVID-19 has changed the way that we interact with the world around us. Living through an unprecedented global pandemic, we’ve adjusted to wearing masks in public, isolating ourselves from friends and coworkers and sanitizing surfaces everywhere we go. The toll that the pandemic has taken has been huge—businesses have shuttered, jobs have been lost and sadly, too many people have become ill or died. While we’ve all been hoping that a COVID-19 vaccine will bring back the world as we used to know it, the reality is that the coronavirus isn’t going to go away so easily.

Sanitization is necessary for the vaccine’s success

Vaccination is a key step in ending the pandemic, but without the right precautions, COVID-19 can still spread among vaccinated populations and cause illnesses. Receiving a vaccine doesn’t eliminate your risk of contracting COVID-19 and/or transmitting the SARS-CoV-2 virus—it protects you from getting sick if you do get infected. And because of the slow rollout of vaccines in some places around the world, spikes can occur as vaccinated people begin to travel back and forth to relatively unvaccinated areas.

As COVID-19 vaccines are being administered to large numbers of the population in the US, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) still recommends that vaccinated individuals keep taking precautions in public spaces, including wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding crowded spaces. In addition to these proven personal measures, targeted sanitization methods are effective in reducing the spread of harmful pathogens, reducing exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the first place. Being vaccinated doesn’t eliminate the need for proper cleaning and hygiene—both are safe and effective ways to reduce the risk of spreading disease.

Sanitization reduces flu + cold transmission

Our approach to fighting the coronavirus with sanitizers isn’t actually new—in fact, preventing the spread of germs is also effective against many other common illnesses. Data that’ve been collected during the pandemic so far shows that our protections against COVID-19 have significantly reduced transmission of other communicable diseases, such as seasonal flus and the common cold. Influenza cases were especially low during the 2020-2021 season, according to weekly reports from the CDC. That’s good news since each year, the health care system is flooded with millions of influenza cases, incurring annual medical costs of $10.4 billion. Effective hygiene and sanitization also prevent the development of drug-resistant pathogens, which the World Health Organization cites as a high-priority global health issue.

Doctor preparing a syringe with a vaccine dose.
Vaccination is a key step in ending the pandemic, but without the right precautions, COVID-19 can still spread among vaccinated populations and cause illnesses.

Flus, colds and other infectious diseases affect more than just our health and well-being too. Each year, influenza outbreaks affect businesses in every industry to the tune of billions of dollars. Annual influenza epidemics incur a national economic burden of $87.1 billion, costing employers and employees lost time and money each year. Keeping up with regular COVID-19 cleaning and sanitization, as well as following CDC guidelines for isolating if you have symptoms, will be effective in preventing the spread of viral and bacterial infections around the workplace.

Sanitization gives people peace of mind

Just because we can see the light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t mean that everything will return to how it was before the pandemic. In fact, increased attention to sanitization and even mask-wearing if you’re sick may be a part of a “new normal” for many individuals going forward. Workers with COVID-19 vaccines returning to open office environments may elevate the risk of COVID-19 spikes in certain areas, so it’s crucial that sanitization methods are in place to curb the spread of any pathogens. The added benefit of a clean environment will provide peace of mind in the workplace and in public spaces.

The necessity of worrying constantly about COVID-19 will fade eventually, but you shouldn’t throw out your masks just yet. Staying clear of large gatherings, wearing a mask in public or better yet, cleaning and disinfecting with the right sanitizers, can greatly reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 and other diseases.

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