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Can you and your friends form a 'vaccine bubble' after getting the shot?

Let’s say you get vaccinated and your friend does, too. Does that mean you can get together pre-pandemic style? A WashU doctor weighs in

ST. LOUIS — As more people get the COVID-19 vaccine, some who are vaccinated are starting to form new bubbles. They’re being called “vaccine bubbles” or "immunity bubbles." They’re gatherings of people who’ve had the shots; they form their own "bubbles" since they're protected.

Let’s say you get vaccinated and your friend does, too. Does that mean you can get together pre-pandemic style? With no masks or social distancing? One local doctor with Washington University in St. Louis said not exactly. 

Dr. Michael Kinch said the reason that’s not a good idea is two-fold.

First, he said we just don’t know yet if the vaccine will knock down your ability to spread the virus to others. And even if it does, there could be a window between after you encounter the virus, but before your dose kicks in, and you could take that virus back to someone who isn’t vaccinated and infect them. Plus, Dr. Kinch said it can take awhile for the vaccine to start working after you get it.

Kinch said the other factor is you might think you’re safe in a bubble, but you can still pick up the virus while simply running an errand, like the grocery store. So, achieving the perfect bubble is next to impossible.

Until we can all get together safely again, remember to mask up, keep your distance and wash your hands.

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