SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — As vaccination efforts across the United States continue, questions are arising about what people can do once they’ve received their vaccines. Providing some clarity, the CDC announced Monday morning that people who have been fully vaccinated are able to gather with other vaccinated people indoors without wearing a mask or social distancing.
Furthermore, says the CDC, fully vaccinated people can also gather with those who are unvaccinated, provided they are at a low risk for severe disease, such as in the case of vaccinated grandparents visiting healthy children and grandchildren. The CDC says that a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving their final required dose of the vaccine.
According to Dr. Kevin Post, Chief Medical Officer for Avera Medical Group, this two-week window is the time required for the body to mount an adequate anti-body response to the COVID-19 virus after getting the vaccine.
In their latest release of numbers, the South Dakota Department of Health says that 92,504 people in the state have completed their vaccine courses.
Post is optimistic about the state’s progress so far, saying that the total amount of people in the state who have some form of immunity to the virus, be it due to vaccination or from contracting the illness, puts us on track in terms of where we need to be in terms of beating the virus.
When it comes to beating the virus however, Post says we are still learning. “We’ll definitely have to keep our eye on the ball here going forward, whether we have to adjust the vaccinations, whether we will see enough of a variant strain come up that does lead to repeat hospitalizations.” Also among the questions still being considered, says Post, is how long immunity lasts.
While hopes remain high that we can move on from this pandemic, it is important to recognize the longevity of this virus. “Hopefully we can continue to keep abreast of it with vaccinations,” says Post, “with effective treatment, measures. There’s more therapeutics coming out, so hopefully it becomes just more that we are able to live with, but yes, still will be part of our life that we’ll be cautious with.”
Post says that as we continue to grapple with COVID as a society, we will also continue to develop the ways in which we fight against it, speaking about research into different strains, different means of vaccination and different means of vaccine production.
One thing that Post says South Dakotans should be on the look out for presently, is allergies. “That is a legitimate concern,” he says. “Because the symptoms of COVID can vary so much, from being completely asymptomatic to severe symptoms, so I think it’s really important to watch the pattern of the symptoms, even though it’s very confusing.”
Post says it is important to look out for any symptoms that may indicate more of a viral illness instead of allergies, such as fever, muscle aches and other symptoms that may not be consistent with allergies. When in doubt, he says, contact your primary care provider and let them use their discretion to decide if you should get tested.