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People have 50% immunity two weeks after getting first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, doctors say

MaineHealth's Dr. Dora Mills said that even after receiving the second dose, people should continue to mask and social distance.

PORTLAND, Maine — Nearly 20,000 Mainers have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Friday, according to state records.

MaineHealth's Chief Health Improvement Officer Dora Mills, M.D. said two weeks after receiving the first dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, people have about "50 percent immunity," meaning they are 50 percent less likely to catch the virus if they come in contact with an infected person.

"There's so much COVID disease out there. That's not enough," Mills said. 

Mills said that two weeks after receiving the second dose, people are 95 percent immune, but warned people that due to the surge in cases, that it would not be safe for people to go back to pre-pandemic behavior.

"You really need to continue to mask and be distanced, because until a lot more people have gotten vaccinated and the pandemic surge simmers down, it's not going to be safe to act as if you're fully immune, fully protected. You just don't know," Mills said. 

Right now, Mainers age 70 and older, as well as healthcare workers and public safety personnel are eligible to get the vaccine.

Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said that visiting grandparents in a controlled environment, such as a private home, may be safe, but that they are still waiting for guidance from the federal government before offering any changes to visitation policies at long-term care facilities.

"It's not so much a one-on-one where just because two grandparents can interact with the grandchild with masks on, that doesn't necessarily mean that visitation in long-term care facilities can be activated," Shah said. "We're still sorting through the details and what the best policy is there."