The pandemic forced many people to isolate from their families, primarily to keep parents or grandparents safe. If they have been following the rules, older adults have had a difficult time being separated from families for about a year. This is why there is so much excitement about the COVID-19 vaccines. But does getting the vaccine mean that life immediately goes back to normal? Experts advise against this way of thinking.
Health care workers, the elderly, and people with pre-existing conditions are currently being vaccinated. That doesn’t mean that everyone is vaccinated, though, and experts say that precautions are still necessary for this reason. Vaccinated people have the mindset that they can hang out without masks or social distancing. According to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, it is only 95% effective at preventing infection, while Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is 94.1% effective. This means that the risk of contracting the virus is very low, but it’s still possible, especially if you hang around non-vaccinated people.
What’s The Best Way To Think About The Vaccine?
People seem to have two ways that they currently look at the vaccine: life before the vaccine, and life after the vaccine. Well, there’s also the large group of people who seemingly don’t care about the virus or vaccine and just do whatever they want. There is no immediate transition or switch that flips everything back to what we once knew. Epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists advise people to think about the vaccines as a gradual progression.
You can’t just go visit grandma once she gets the vaccine, especially if you didn’t receive it yet. Additionally, you can’t just hang out in a cabin with nine friends after you all get the vaccine and think that everything is dandy. It’s very possible to contract the virus between the first and second dose of the vaccine. After the second shot, it takes ab out two weeks for the body to build up its protection. Even then, it’s still possible to contract the virus. That’s why experts suggest that people continue to wear masks and practice social distancing. You can read more about that by clicking here.
The Three Stages Of 2021
It can be beneficial to separate 2021 into three different stages. This isn’t how the world will end up; rather, it’s more about how to gradually integrate yourself back into the world. During stage one, you can engage safely with your close friends or family members, so long as all of you are vaccinated. What you can do during stage two will depend on your city’s policies and COVID-19 numbers. The state, county, or city has to feel that herd immunity is achieved, meaning that enough people are safe or protected from infection in your area. Stage three is all about international herd immunity. Just so people are aware, it’s unlikely that international herd immunity is achievable during 2021.
Health experts can theorize and give their thoughts of how things will go, but everything comes down to how effective the vaccines are at preventing symptomatic disease. Will they protect against infection and transmission as well? These are the unknown answers that we will only understand farther down the line.
Can You Hang Out Immediately After Being Vaccinated?
Let’s give the example that five relatively healthy friends receive both shots of the vaccine. Is it possible to rent out a house in the desert and do everything together without masks? Some argue that this is completely fine, while others say that there is potential worry. Vaccines do not take effect immediately. It’s imperative to wait at least two weeks before you decide to gather with anyone. Virologists don’t know how the vaccine will work in each person, and that’s what worries them. There is no 100% guarantee that every person will develop a protective response. Neither of the primary vaccines assure 100% protection, so there is still a chance that vaccinated friends can develop symptoms around each other. This all depends on who else they hang out with.
The weekend getaway or trip to gather all of your family in one area is not entirely safe. Epidemiologists agree that we will not be in a zero risk situation for quite some time. The best thing that we can do is slow down to a minimal risk situation. That’s what we are trying to do right now. Until then, practice the same protective measures even after you receive the vaccine. Wear masks indoors, strive for small outdoor, socially distanced gatherings, and keep gatherings limited to a bubble of vaccinated people.