Local experts advise against letting guard down as more receive COVID-19 vaccines

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If you’ve been fully vaccinated, you’re probably asked yourself, “Do I feel safe?”

While many hope getting the vaccine will mark an immediate return to normal, the reality is more complicated.

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It’s been two weeks since Nicole Byler got her second COVID vaccine shot, and she had some plans up her sleeve.

“My grandparents are vaccinated. They don’t live here, but we do have plans to meet our new baby now that we’re both safe.”

And she’s not alone. Across Mississippi, more than 717,000 doses have gone into arms. In Tennessee 1.5 million and in Arkansas 687,000.

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While these numbers show progress in the fight against COVID-19, health experts said it’s not time to let your guard down.

“While I see a light at the end of the tunnel, people need to maintain what they have been doing,” said Sandra Arnold, MD Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

Experts said don’t act like it’s pre-pandemic, but a small gathering with other vaccinated people may be safe.

“Because even if you can transmit the virus, the other people who are higher risk got vaccinated, and we know the vaccine is pretty much 100% effective against severe disease,” said Arnold.

“I definitely still plan on wearing my mask anytime I go anywhere,” said Byler.