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Pandemic Isn't Over: Adults Shouldn't Hug After One Gets COVID-19 Vaccine

A man and woman wearing gas masks embrace at their window during a daily 8 o'clock applause in support of medical workers in Nice, France on March 24, 2020. (Photo by VALERY HACHE / AFP) VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images
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So you or your loved one finally got the COVID-19 vaccine and you want to know if you can ditch the mask...visit with family indoors...and, maybe even, hug!

With adults at or over the age of 65 now eligible to get the vaccine in California, it's tempting to think that newly vaccinated older adults can let go of social distancing rules.

Not so fast, says Dean A Blumberg, MD:

"We do feel that if you're vaccinated, you're less likely to transmit, but you could be completely asymptomatic and still serve as a source of transmission to others, even if you're vaccinated."

Dr. Blumberg is Associate Professor and Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UC Davis Children's Hospital. He joined our newsroom's local news and culture show
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Take Two, which airs on 89.3 KPCC. He recommends that vaccinated adults hold off on trips to see loved ones -- even if they have received both doses.

Data shows that the vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency-use authorization -- from manufacturers Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna -- have been highly effective in preventing serious illness from COVID-19. However, the clinical studies conducted so far still leave these open questions: How effective are the vaccines in preventing the spread of the virus? And... Can a vaccinated person still be contagious?

For now, Dr. Blumberg urged fully vaccinated adults to take as many precautions as possible when visiting loved ones.

"Well, what we do know is this, that 90 percent of transmission that's occurring is occurring indoors. So if you can be with people outdoors, ideally, masking and social distancing, that's the way to do it. That's the safest way to interact with other people in person. Indoors is the worst way and especially indoors when you're not masking and social distancing."