Half of Minnesota's adults have had at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine, but health experts are asking those who still aren't fully vaccinated to take a "pandemic pause" to limit the spread of the virus.
Minnesota is currently experiencing another surge in cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19 with the state now seeing cases from the more contagious B.1.1.7 U.K. variant.
Deaths have also been rising, but not at the same rate as cases and hospitalizations, which points to the vaccine as being effective at preventing death from the virus.
Nonetheless, the virus still presents a risk for the unvaccinated, and delays the return to relative normality while it's still widespread, which is why the Minnesota Medical Association is suggesting a "pandemic pause."
Currently, people aren't considered "fully-vaccinated" until two weeks after their final dose, when the vaccines reach peak effectiveness.
That's why the MMA is asking Minnesotans to continue taking precautions to prevent spreading COVID-19, such as by staying home when possible, gathering outdoors rather than indoors, and avoiding unnecessary trips.
"We need to allow Minnesota’s healthcare workers to get out in front of this and lessen the severity of a fourth surge,” says MMA President Marilyn Peitso, MD.
"We want this pandemic to end as much as the rest of Minnesota. Together, we need to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19."
Even when vaccinated, people are still urged to wear face masks, continue social distancing, wash their hands regularly, and stay home when sick.
"Per CDC recommendations, vaccinations can be protective, especially when getting together in small groups with other vaccinated people, but being vaccinated should not be considered a green light for high-risk activities like attending large events indoors where others are not wearing masks or staying socially distant," the MMA says.
"Vaccination not only protects you, but it also protects your family and the entire community,” Peitso added. "Vaccination is the pathway back to some form of normal life."