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Fact or Fiction: Can businesses requiring proof of vaccination guarantee a COVID-free experience?

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 4:10 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Restaurants and other businesses across the country have begun to require would-be patrons to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 before they are allowed inside.

But if one dines in a restaurant where everyone inside is vaccinated, does that guarantee that no one there can contract the disease?

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control released a statement to answer that question:

A fully vaccinated person is less likely to contract COVID and therefore less likely to spread the virus. So being fully vaccinated does offer some protection for unvaccinated individuals who are in close contact with a vaccinated person. However, that protection is not nearly as effective as being vaccinated and becomes even less of a factor when around large groups of people.

DHEC data from June showed that more than 90 percent of COVID-19 cases and deaths, and 86 percent of hospitalizations, were among those who were not fully vaccinated. That is why everyone ages 12 and up is strongly encouraged to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Getting vaccinated means protecting yourself against COVID and protecting those who are unable to get vaccinated.

In short, it’s complicated.

There can’t be protection against COVID-19 for unvaccinated people among fully vaccinated if only fully-vaccinated people are allowed inside a business.

While COVID-19 can still spread even among fully-vaccinated people, doctors insist those who have been vaccinated are far less likely to experience serious illness from the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says as of Sunday, 57.1% of South Carolinians 12 years old or older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Only 48.4% of those 12 or older are considered fully vaccinated.

The CDC says someone is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of the two-shot Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or two weeks after receiving the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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