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Local expert explains why you still have to take precautions after getting vaccine

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Posted at 7:30 AM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 09:30:34-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado's vaccine roll-out is slowly moving along, but some people are asking do you still have to take precautions like wearing a mask and social distancing, even after you get the shot?

Both Pfizer and Moderna's vaccine clinical trials found they were about 95 percent effective in preventing symptomatic and severe COVID-19 infections. The studies didn't measure whether a vaccinated person is less likely to infect someone else. So, until studies come out to prove that's not the case, mask up!

Keep in mind, there are also lots of unknowns with the vaccines. The CDC says there is protection offered up front when you get the shot, but when you develop immunity can vary, based on which vaccine you get. Pfizer-BioNTech says its vaccine provides full protection 7 days after the second shot. Moderna says, its vaccine is effective 14 days after the second shot. All the more reason to still mask up!

There's also the issue of reaching herd immunity. News5 spoke to medical experts with UCHealth, who said herd immunity happens when there's enough protection in the population to prevent continued spread of the virus.

"The goal of vaccinating is to get to herd immunity so once enough people are vaccinated, and are immune we will stop being able to spread," said Dr. Larissa Pisney, the Medical Director at University Hospital in the Springs. "Even though it's remarkable that we have these two highly effective vaccines that have a 95 percent effective rate, 95 percent is not 100 percent."

The CDC says you need to keep wearing a mask because it will be several months before we see large numbers of people within communities, get the shot, and build up immunity to the virus.

The number of people who need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity differs for each virus, but for the Coronavirus, 70 to 90 percent of the population will need to be vaccinated.
The road to getting there could take longer because new COVID-19 variants could change the effectiveness of the vaccines, but so far scientists have not seen this happen.