By Raetta Holdman

(CBS4) – Right now the state of Colorado is working hard to get every 70 year old (and older) vaccinated against COVID-19. Gov. Jared Polis has set a goal of having 70% of that population immunized by the end of February.

That has many wondering if they can now visit their older parents who are vaccinated without having to worry. CBS4 Medical Editor Dr. Dave Hnida was asked that very question in an interview on CBSN Denver on Monday.

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(file photo credit: CBS)

Hnida explained there are two scenarios to consider: one involving adult children who have also been vaccinated, the other involving a grandchild who cannot yet be inoculated. In the first case he said it was important to make sure to wait long enough for the second dose of the vaccine to really take effect and then the risk would be lower.

“If you have a grandchild who wants to get together with a grandparent who has been vaccinated, it’s a little bit riskier,” he said.

“When you have only one party who has been immunized, there is a potential problem. The thing you need to keep in mind under any scenario, any combination of people getting together, is that the vaccine is not 100% effective.”

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“The other thing to keep in mind is that we do worry about the ability of someone, even if they’ve been immunized, to spread the virus,” Hnida said.

(file photo credit: CBS)

“They, themselves, may not get sick but we are not sure whether the vaccine will actually help a person clear the virus from their nose and throat. They may carry it and transmit it.”

“It’s just the way infectious disease works. It works that way for influenza. It works that way for the common cold.”

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Hnida said the real message right now is we need to get herd, or community, immunity. Until that happens, he said, we need to continue with social distancing, masking and good hygiene.

Raetta Holdman