- Experts say that revealing your COVID-19 vaccination status online can present some privacy risks.
- They say that this is especially true if you post a photo of your vaccination card or discuss other personal information, such as where you got your vaccine.
- Going on a date isn’t completely risk-free, even if both people are vaccinated, and you should still follow safety protocols.
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Public health experts agree that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is an effective way of protecting yourself from contracting the disease and from preventing serious illness.
But does this mean you should discuss your vaccination status with potential partners before even agreeing to meet in person?
Yes and no.
Dr. Edgar Sanchez, an infectious disease physician and vice chairman at Orlando Health Infectious Disease Group, says privacy does matter.
“You should celebrate getting vaccinated,” he told Healthline.
But celebrating isn’t the same as posting your vaccination status to your dating profile or social media accounts.
Doing so could pose a potential privacy risk.
“I don’t see a problem with telling anyone you’ve been vaccinated,” said Sanchez.
“However, be mindful of posting photos of the information on your vaccination card that scammers can exploit,” he added. “Vaccine cards show name and date of birth.”
They also include the vaccination type and the date and location of administration.
“Scammers can also use them to make fake cards,” Sanchez said.
Dating has never been entirely risk-free, but dating during a pandemic adds more questions to consider before meeting someone in person whom you’ve met online.
For example, if both of you are vaccinated, do you need to wear masks when first meeting? What if only one of you is vaccinated?
“As more people get vaccinated, then dating can be a low-risk activity for everyone,” said Sanchez.
But we’re not there yet.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that those who are vaccinated continue to wear masks and maintain physical distance as the vaccine rollout proceeds.
Sanchez further reminds us that getting a vaccine dose doesn’t equal automatic protection.
“The full benefits of immunity from the vaccines happen 2 weeks after the second dose of Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, and 2 weeks after the dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine,” he explained.
“Before that time, you are not considered fully protected and will need to be careful about exposure.”
Also keep in mind that even after the 2-week mark, the CDC doesn’t know how long protection lasts for those who are vaccinated.
“We also don’t yet know whether getting a COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people, even if you don’t get sick yourself,”
In other words, you can celebrate being vaccinated against COVID-19, but you should still be cautious when bringing new people into the bubble.
“I think dating can be done safely, as long as both parties are responsible and are aware of the risks they pose to themselves and others,” Sanchez said.
He offers these tips:
- If both you and your date are fully vaccinated, then indoor visits even without masks or physical distancing is low risk.
- If only one of you is vaccinated, then as long as the unvaccinated person has no health conditions that put them at a high risk for COVID-19 complications, then indoor dates are still likely OK.
- If neither of you is vaccinated, then it’s recommended you wear masks, physically distance, and have the date outdoors.
Note that “low risk” isn’t the same as risk-free or zero risk.
The CDC states that even if you’re both fully vaccinated, you should follow regular safety protocols:
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth.
- Stay at least 6 feet away from others.
- Avoid crowds.
- Avoid poorly ventilated spaces.
- Wash your hands often.
“Regardless of vaccination status, I would still avoid crowded spaces, and the CDC is still not recommending travel at this time as there is still an unacceptable risk of transmission in the community,” Sanchez added.
It’s part of human nature to adapt to the circumstances we face, and living through a public health crisis is no different.
“Thirty to 40 years ago, with our last global pandemic that was HIV, the way people dated changed dramatically, and contracting that disease was lifelong, and at the time, also very deadly,” said Sanchez.
“With HIV, there is still no cure or vaccine,” he added. “Yet people found a way to date and enjoy life. I think with COVID-19, hopefully with these very effective vaccines, these changes are temporary.”