How to protect yourself once you are fully vaccinated

Those who are vaccinated still need to take precautions in public places.
Updated: Mar. 22, 2021 at 5:25 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As more people choose to get the COVID-19 vaccine, many are feeling like a weight has been lifted off of their shoulders. But it doesn’t mean life can go back to normal just yet.

According to the Louisiana Department of Health, the COVID-19 positivity rates appear to be on the decline--this as state COVID-19 guidelines ease up.

There are some guidelines the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends for those who are fully vaccinated:

- You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask.

- You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people from one other household without a mask unless someone living there is at high-risk of contracting the virus.

- If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, you do not need to quarantine or get tested unless you have symptoms.

“We still have a very significant portion of the population that has not been vaccinated,” said Dr. Fred Lopez, professor and infectious diseases specialist at LSU Health.

He said even though those vaccinated may feel like it’s safe to “let loose” and go back to living a normal lifestyle, it’s important not to let your guard down just yet.

Dr. Lopez said it is still unknown if the virus can be transmitted from a person already vaccinated.

“It’s very likely that transmission is decreased with the use of these vaccines,” he said. “There is a concern and it’s being evaluated.”

He said scientists studying the efficacy of the vaccine are looking to see if asymptomatic infection with transmission can occur.

“It does look like it can, but it’s markedly reduced by the vaccine,” he said. “But they’re [the vaccines] are not 100 percent effective either.”

Something, he said, to keep in mind.

Dr. Lopez recommends people should wait at least two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, before the vaccine can truly protect against the virus. But even then, the vaccine is not 100 percent effective. He said it is possible people can still become infected despite being vaccinated.

While many may be ready for the ‘world to open back up,’ and be back to ‘normal,’ Dr. Lopez urges people to continue wearing a face mask and avoid large gatherings until a herd immunity is achieved.

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