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Tulare County residents age 50 or older who do not have high-risk health conditions are now considered eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, health officials announced on Thursday.
RACHEL JORDAN: The day has finally come. You've received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. But now what? Does this mean you're free to go about your life as you did before the coronavirus pandemic? We checked in with an infectious disease specialist at Kaiser Permanente to find out. First of all, do you still need to wear a mask?
UMBER CHOHAN: Yes. You still need to wear a mask, even if you've been vaccinated. No vaccine is 100% effective.
RACHEL JORDAN: When can you see your friends and family again?
UMBER CHOHAN: Before we advise people to do that, we want to be sure that it's safe for people to do so. Also, with kids-- we have no vaccine for children right now. And so if you're having a gathering where you have children involved, as well, that could potentially be a risk.
RACHEL JORDAN: If you are vaccinated and you want to meet with family and friends, inside or outside?
UMBER CHOHAN: If you are going to have a gathering, it's recommended to do it outside.
RACHEL JORDAN: Can you still catch COVID-19, and can you infect others?
UMBER CHOHAN: Yes. It takes up to two weeks after you get your second dose to build full immunity. So if you're exposed to COVID-19 either just before or just after the vaccination, you could get sick from COVID-19. At this time, we don't know if getting the vaccine prevents you from spreading the virus. It's too early to say.
RACHEL JORDAN: How long does immunity last?
UMBER CHOHAN: Right now, we don't know exactly how long it lasts. But we are hoping that the immunity lasts for at least two to three years.
RACHEL JORDAN: Can I travel if I've been vaccinated?
UMBER CHOHAN: We do not recommend people travel unless it's absolutely necessary.
RACHEL JORDAN: If you have the option, is it OK to eat at a restaurant indoors, or attend sporting events or concerts?
UMBER CHOHAN: Right now, I would recommend to avoid both of these situations. You really want to avoid crowds. You want to avoid any close contact with people who are outside your immediate household.
RACHEL JORDAN: If you still have questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, head over to ABC7.com/coronavirus for more info.