masked female has a bandage on her arm while medical professional with gloves and mask stands nearby

Can COVID-19 Vaccines Be Required?

Being Vaccinated Makes Public Activities Safer and Simpler

COVID-19 vaccinations are not mandatory, but businesses and states can set vaccine requirements or impose restrictions based on vaccination status. This can affect your ability to go to work, concerts, or to travel.

Let’s review the situations where being vaccinated might allow you to more freely participate in life as you did before the pandemic.

School and work
It’s common for schools and some workplaces to require proof of vaccination. This helps keep everyone safe by preventing the spread of deadly diseases, like Measles and Hepatitis B. For the same reason, COVID-19 vaccination may be required by your school or workplace.

If you and/or your children are currently in school, make sure you ask if COVID-19 vaccines will be required this year.

Hospitals, medical facilities, and government offices are the most likely workplaces to require employee COVID-19 vaccinations, but other employers can require vaccination as well.

Fun and entertainment
Concerts and sporting events, where people are likely to be close together, can be very high risk for spreading COVID-19.

Businesses might strongly enforce preventive measures to keep everyone as safe as possible, including:

  • Requiring proof of vaccination and/or a negative COVID-19 test before entry
  • Creating vaccinated-only sections to put attendees at ease
  • Mandating masks and/or social distancing regardless of vaccination status

All travelers going to all places need to wear masks while traveling and self-monitor their symptoms. But, fully vaccinated travelers have to follow far fewer requirements than unvaccinated ones.

Domestic travel recommendations and requirements

COVID-19 vaccination recommendation chart

As the chart above shows, fully vaccinated travelers don’t need to self-quarantine after domestic travel (within the U.S.). They also don’t need to get tested before or after traveling.

Circumstances can change quickly, so check the CDC’s recommendations for domestic travel before you fly.

 International travel recommendations and requirements
The CDC recommends that unvaccinated people do not travel internationally. It’s ok for fully vaccinated people to travel internationally, but it’s still considered a fairly high risk activity.

Fully vaccinated people still need to get tested before and after traveling, but they don’t have to self-quarantine after traveling if they get a negative test result.

It’s a good idea to review international travel guidelines before planning your trip, since recommendations can change.

Get vaccinated!
Getting vaccinated helps ensure that you’re more likely to be able to attend and participate in the events of your choice.

It’s also the best way to keep yourself and others safe from COVID-19. If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, find a vaccine near you.


CDC. COVID-19: When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated

CDC. Myths and Facts

Healthline. Proof of Vaccination

Johns Hopkins. Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccines in the U.S.

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