CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - An infectious disease doctor with the University of Virginia says there are still misconceptions surrounding how the COVID-19 vaccines work because the science is not yet settled, but recent data suggests these medicines can be the key to ending the pandemic.
“We know that after you have received both doses of the vaccine and waited a couple weeks, that you are very unlikely to get sick enough with COVID to require being in the hospital or to be sick enough to die. That’s fantastic, incredible levels of protection there,” Patrick Jackson said.
Now that roughly 500,000 Virginians are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, what can all of these people do or not do?
“Vaccines right now are not a license to go off and hold a keg party in your basement with 50 of your closest friends,” Jackson said. “It is clear that if you are vaccinated and your loved ones are vaccinated, that small group gatherings are much lower risk than without vaccination.”
Jackson says while the second dose may reduce your risk of transmitting the virus, it’s not fully clear just yet what that means for others.
“The possibility of getting asymptomatic infection and transmitting the virus onto other people who may not be protected still exists,” Jackson said. “I will say that we are learning more and more about how this vaccine might protect us against being able to transmit the virus to other people.”
Getting both vaccines, Jackson says, is a huge milestone, but it does not mean letting your guard down anytime soon.
“It is very important that people continue to practice social distancing and mask wearing even after being vaccinated, because we really are at the threshold of getting past this and really continuing to practice good measures to prevent the spread will help us get rid of COVID,” he said.
If the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issues an emergency use authorization for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Jackson says it could be a real game changer in reaching herd immunity.