EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) – As of Sunday evening, over half of American adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, which should mean the pandemic is on its way out, right? Not exactly. In fact, health officials are warning of a possible fourth wave hitting the U.S. in the coming weeks.

This may seem like a paradox, but according to Dr. Ken Johnson, the chief medical officer for Prevea Health in Eau Claire, just because more shots are going into arms, doesn’t mean the U.S. has reached herd immunity. He explained around 70% of the population needs to be fully vaccinated before we can begin looking at lessening preventative measures.

For the time being, Dr. Johnson said the big issue that’s fueling concern over another surge is that, simply put, people are tired of this pandemic.

“As people have gotten vaccinated, we have become a little more lax about doing things to decrease spread: the mask-wearing, social distancing, frequent hand-washing,” Johnson said. “As we relax those things, there’s a risk of the virus spread picking back up.”

Johnson also stressed some COVID-19 variants have higher transmission rates, adding that just because you may have already received one dose of a vaccine, you’re not fully protected until two weeks after a second dose.

Dr. Johnson said right now, the main spreaders of the virus are adults ages 18 to 40 because adults older than 40 have likely already completed a full vaccine set, given their earlier eligibility.

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