By CBSNewYork Team

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Doctors continue to warn people that being fully vaccinated against the coronavirus is not a golden ticket to normalcy.

They say even if you’ve had your shots, you shouldn’t let your guard down.

“I was not going to be turned away,” cancer survivor Suzanne Carter told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.

Carter has been terrified of contracting COVID. For four weeks, the Forest Hills woman fought to find an appointment for the vaccine and finally got her first shot Wednesday.


“I know now that if and when I get COVID, that I have a far greater chance of survival,” Carter said. “I also understand that being inoculated today does not make me safe today.”

Doctors wish all patients had the same cautious mentality, not the false sense of security they’re seeing.

“When people decide to take risks after the first dose, they’re still very likely to contract the virus,” said Dr. Niket Sonpal, of Touro College of Medicine.

Sonpal reminds us it takes up to a month after that second dose to achieve the 95% protection, which is important for those thinking of gathering in a group, seeing the grandparents or planning a getaway.

“Once you’ve had both doses of your vaccine and a month has gone by, only travel if you absolutely have to,” he said.


“So my parents, late 60s, early 70s, both just got the vaccine. Can I see them?” Layton asked.

“Once it’s been about a month after the second dose, you can still see them as long as you’re also vaccinated,” Sonpal said.

Doctors say we should prepare to wear masks and practice social distancing for another year or so, so scientists have time to make sure the vaccine works against new variants.

Carter may never feel fully confident again, but she hopes to breathe a little easier after she gets her second dose in three weeks.

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“I’m still not going to restaurants. I’m not looking to get on an airplane. I’m simply looking to survive,” she said.

It’s a simple request in the midst of what is still very much a public health crisis.

CBS2’s Jessica Layton contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team