‘Immunity bubbles’? What you shouldn’t do after getting the COVID vaccine

Coronavirus

Peter Chin-Hong, MD, professor of Medicine and infectious disease specialist, is studying the effects of the emergency use authorization (EUA) drug remdesivir as a therapy for severely ill patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, in his lab at UCSF Medical Center, at the Parnassus Heights campus. (Courtesy: UCSF)

(NEXSTAR) – After getting both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, you may be ready to throw a massive party to celebrate — but according to a San Francisco physician, you should hold off for now.

“Life will not suddenly get back to normal [after getting the vaccine],” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

After getting the second dose of the vaccine, Chin-Hong said “what you shouldn’t be doing is going out with wont and abandon and freeness and frolicking in crowded environments.”

There’s two reasons for this: One, researchers don’t yet know if you can be a vehicle to transmit COVID-19. Two, you may be in the five percent of people who did not respond to the vaccine.

Plus, Chin-Hong says it “sends a bad message to people.”

“It’s discouraging, and who can prove that you’ve been vaccinated?”

So what can you do?

For starters, you can form what Chin-Hong calls an “immunity bubble” with fellow vaccinated people, much like the “COVID bubbles” we saw at the start of the pandemic.

“It’ll be even more liberating,” Chin-Hong says. “A small group of people who’ve been vaccinated can probably get together and hug each other and not wear masks.”

But, he warns, until the U.S. has reached herd immunity — meaning 70 percent of the population has been vaccinated — keep your large gatherings to a minimum.

The bottom line: Stay away from large crowds whether you’ve been vaccinated or not.

If you’re in a large crowd, “even if you’re wearing a mask, you could potentially get and transmit COVID. At this point, you’ll still be encountering a lot of un-vaccinated people, so keep it to your immunity bubbles.”

You shouldn’t be meeting up with friends immediately after getting the vaccine either. Pfizer has has shown strong protection seven days after the second dose, while Moderna has done so for 14 days after the second dose.

Chin-Hong stressed that “there will be a transition period, and people need to be patient for the rest of society.”

“But they may get back some glimmers of hope and freedom in these small immunity bubbles.”

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