DULUTH, MN -- In the last year, we've all adapted to what has become our new normal. Now with vaccines being distributed, people are looking ahead to life after the pandemic. CBS 3's Kristen Vake spoke to an Iron Range doctor who broke down the do's and don'ts to follow once you've received the vaccine.
"I think there's good reason to have a positive outlook, to be optimistic."
Dr. Pete Olsen of Fairview Range in Hibbing has been on the frontlines of the pandemic. He said he's feeling hopeful now that vaccines are available.
But once you get the shot there are still precautions you should take.
At the top of so many people's list is visiting loved ones.
"We don't know if you can still spread the disease even if you're asymptomatic after receiving the vaccine," said Dr. Olsen. "So as much as you want to see your loved ones it's so important to recognize that when you get the vaccine it's not just for you, it's for others."
As experts study the effectiveness of the vaccine, CBS 3 did a Q and A with Dr. Olsen to answer some common questions asked by those who receive it.
Q: Once you've been vaccinated do you still have to wear a mask?
A: "Yeah, I'd keep that mask on. Even as people are seeing higher and higher rates of vaccination across the country, we want to be careful that we're not spreading illness or disease to people who have not been vaccinated."
Q: Once you're vaccinated, should you still use precautions when traveling?
A: "I think so. Although all of us would love to hang out on a beach somewhere and go somewhere warm, I think it's important to recognize that we don't want to increase the rates of spread until we know that this COVID vaccine has been effective in increasing herd immunity."
Q: The traditional handshake, does it need to be retired post-pandemic?
A: "Oh boy, I miss the handshake! This is how we connect and even in many different countries, this is a connection point. The elbow bump just doesn't feel the same. When it's time, and we've seen the rates of COVID have dropped, I'm hopeful for it to return but I'll certainly be washing my hands just as many times to make sure I don't spread the disease to anybody else, too."
As we wait to drop the masks, give a hug and visit loved ones, Dr. Olsen said he believes it won't be too long before we can get back to doing the things we love most.
"I think we do have a new normal. It's going to take some months' time, maybe a year, but I think we're going to see live music, we're going to see restaurants opening to full capacity, I think we'll be out socializing in parks with friends." He added, "I don't think it's going to be so restrictive. I think it's going to be filled with opportunity and new technology to help us live fuller lives in that new normal."
As phases of who can get the vaccine continue to expand you may be in a situation where some people in your family might be vaccinated and some might not.
Dr. Olsen said it's best to wait to get together until everyone is vaccinated and even then, you should continue to follow recommendations from health experts.