Getting answers: What can I do after I get my second shot?

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — It’s been a year since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in North Carolina, and CBS 17 News is getting answers to questions you asked us about the coronavirus.

YOUR QUESTION: How much is this really going to free us up after we’ve had our second shot? I know we have to wait two weeks for it to really take hold, but I don’t know quite what I would feel safe doing and I think what I’ve been following and I’ve been following pretty closely, there’s a great deal of disagreement about it. Who can I see? Do I have to keep a little bit wider area bubble? Or can I see friends?

OUR ANSWER: The best guidance from experts and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is to wait at least two weeks after the receiving the second dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines before changing your behaviors — and even then, it’s probably best to remain cautious and vigilant.

“I wouldn’t change a lot right now,” said Dr. Joe Eron of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, “because we just don’t know.”

One big reason: It’s still unknown whether, or to what extent, a vaccinated person can still transmit the virus to another person. 

So in addition to the environment and type of activity — being outdoors with plenty of space for distancing — choosing the company you keep will remain just as important.

“Perhaps with close friends and others that have been vaccinated, I would loosen up a little bit. That’s my opinion,” Eron said.

Dr. Lisa Pickett, a trauma surgeon at Duke University Hospital, says once you complete the vaccine regimen — two doses for the Moderna or Pfizer products, a single shot for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — you can begin to think about moving closer to resuming some pre-pandemic activities, in the context of assessing risks and confidence in the health of yourself and those around you.

“What is my own health? And what are my risks, and is that a reasonable risk to take to be around another person who might have had the vaccine and to have a little bit closer encounter even consider being without a mask?” she said.

“So we’re going to walk into that space of having the opportunity to be able to get closer, and maybe go out and have a meal out, but all that should be in that context of being confident that people around you have been vaccinated ad knowing your own health risks,” she added.

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