EUGENE, Ore -- Experts say that achieving herd immunity against the coronavirus via the vaccine will be the key to ending the pandemic but for now even those who are fully vaccinated face risks to their own health and the health of others.
Oregon Medical Group chief medical officer Dr. Stacy Chance said that getting vaccinated can be a milestone, but it's no excuse to completely let your guard down.
"In the short term, there's not a lot that will change, except your risk of COVID will go down after getting the vaccine," he said.
Even after you get your final shot, you will not reach full immunity until two weeks have passed as your body's immune response to the virus develops.
"But it takes time for your body to make that antibody response. And that's usually two weeks until you get to that maximum protection level," said Chance.
Even though the vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe cases of the virus, none of the three approved in the United States will leave you 100 percent immune, leaving the slim chance that you could still become infected.
"It's not 100 percent. You get great protection, but it's not perfect," said Chance.
If not for your own health, maintaining coronavirus guidelines can help the health of the community. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is some data that the vaccines keep people from spreading the virus, but they haven't come to a definitive conclusion.
"This is going to lower the burden of COVID in the community, but it's going to be a while until we can get to a point that we can do a lot of the normal things we want to do again," said Chance.
The CDC released guidelines for fully vaccinated adults, saying they can gather indoors maskless with others who are vaccinated, and even unvaccinated people from a single different household.