Receiving the coronavirus vaccine doesn’t mean you can drop COVID-19 safety precautions, Dr. Daniel C. DeSimone wrote for the Mayo Clinic.
“Further research is needed to understand the immunity that a COVID-19 vaccine provides and how long protection lasts before experts will consider changing current safety recommendations,” he said.
Your body takes about two weeks — after the second dose of the vaccine — to build up protection against the virus. Even then, DeSimone wrote, you can become infected.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 95% effective in preventing COVID-19, and the Moderna vaccine is 94.1% effective. So although your chance of getting the virus is very low, it is still possible.
DeSimone also writes it is not yet known if a vaccinated person can still be a carrier and spread the coronavirus to others.
“More research is needed to determine if you are still contagious after being vaccinated,” he wrote.
Because of these unknowns, you could still pose a risk to family and friends even after getting the vaccine. That’s why DiSimone says you need to continue observing safety precautions.
“Even after getting the COVID-19 vaccine, continue to follow safety precautions and consider avoiding in-person visits with friends and family until more is known about the immunity the vaccines provide,” he wrote. “If you choose to have in-person visits, remember to keep distance between yourself and others (within about 6 feet, or 2 meters). Wear a mask. Visit outdoors, when possible, or open windows and doors to make sure the space is well-ventilated. And wash your hands often.”