Local Residents Advised to Remain Cautious Despite CDC Post-Vaccine Rules
With more and more residents getting the COVID-19 vaccine, many are asking, "what now?"
According to the Centers for Disease Control in the U.S., people who are fully vaccinated can take part in small gatherings indoors with other vaccinated individuals without facemasks or physical distancing — they can also visit with others even if some don't yet have a shot, as long as they're considered low risk.
But here in Canada, Windsor Regional Hospital's chief of staff Dr. Wassim Saad is cautioning against that advice.
Saad says no vaccine is 100% effective and that effectiveness is further decreased with the many COVID-19 variants that have began circulating.
He says the shortage of vaccines in Canada is a problem as well.
"With the shortages that we have in Canada and the fact that we're postponing the second dose for up to four months, that first dose may not offer full immunity. So that's one consideration. Then, of course, the other one is variants. Some of these vaccines are not perfectly effective against variants."
He says jumping the gun now may result in another surge in positive cases.
"I think it would be a bit dangerous now to say if two people are vaccinated you can start getting together without following public health measures because you run the risk of someone getting infected because of either a variant in the community or the fact that someone or more than one person is not fully vaccinated."
He says, at this point, there are too many unknowns to start lifting restrictions.
"This is definitely uncharted territory for everyone. Once somebody is vaccinated and they are exposed to another person with COVID we don't know to what extent they're then able to transmit it to somebody else. We think it's a lot less, but we don't know 100%."
The CDC and Saad do agree on one thing — those who are vaccinated should continue to wear a mask in public and avoid non-essential travel for the time being.
As of Tuesday, March 9, nearly 33,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered to local residents.
— With files from AM800's Patty Handysides