The United States is now giving about 1.8 million COVID-19 vaccine doses per day, which means almost 12% of the population has received at least one of the doses. But what does getting the vaccine really mean as the pandemic rages on? Inside Edition spoke to Dr. Anne Rimoin, Dr. William Schaffner and Dr. Oz for answers.
Do you still have to wear your mask?
Dr. Rimoin: “It's not time to throw away the mask, even if you are vaccinated."
Dr. Schaffner: “If you're fully vaccinated, you still need to wear that mask in public."
Dr. Oz: “There’s a possibility you could still harbor virus, even if you don’t have any symptoms, once you’ve been vaccinated."
What about going out?
Dr. Oz: “You can go to the movies, if it's a well-ventilated theater and you're able to keep six feet away from people around you, once you've been vaccinated. I think those are the kinds of activities you should feel more comfortable engaging in."
Dr. Schaffner: "I think you can get a haircut today if you've been vaccinated."
Dr. Rimoin: "But you still want to wear masks, and you still want to be in well-ventilated areas."
Can you spend time with your loved ones?
Dr. Oz: "If you've been vaccinated, I think it's ok if you hug your grandchildren."
Dr. Schaffner: “But do it briefly and do it carefully."
Can you have people over?
Dr. Rimoin: “When everybody is fully vaccinated, that would be when I would think you can go back and have a dinner party."
Dr. Oz: "You can have people over to your house who have either been vaccinated or who have already suffered and recovered from COVID-19."
The medical experts we spoke to agree that we’re in the home stretch, but with millions more people who need to be vaccinated, it’s crucial to remain vigilant.
“We want to be very, very cautious of not giving this virus and these mutations opportunity to spread and take hold,” Rimoin said.
“Until you get the all clear, please, even if you're vaccinated, keep wearing the mask and doing the social distancing,” Schaffner said.
“We probably have another six to eight weeks of caution before most of us can start to relax,” Oz said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, it normally takes a couple weeks to build complete immunity to COVID-19 once the second dose has been received.