- While the coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna are 95% effective at preventing infection, it’s by no means an excuse for anyone to stop following COVID-19 safety precautions.
- Until the US reaches herd immunity, Dr. Fauci urges people to avoid going to gyms, movie theaters, bars, and any place where strangers congregate.
- Pfizer and Moderna are planning to ship 140 million vaccine doses to the US before April.
As the coronavirus vaccination effort in the US continues to pick up steam, it’s important to remember that getting vaccinated doesn’t give anyone a free pass to disregard existing COVID safety guidelines. For starters, the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, while 95% effective, don’t provide full immunity. Recall that Congressman Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts tested positive for COVID-19 in late January even after receiving his second vaccination shot. It’s worth noting, though, that Lynch was completely asymptomatic.
“Congressman Lynch had received the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine and subsequently received a negative COVID-19 test prior to attending President Biden’s Inauguration,” a Lynch staffer said before adding that Lynch “remains asymptomatic and feels fine.”
Second, it’s still not entirely clear if someone who is vaccinated can spread the coronavirus to others. While preliminary research suggests that getting vaccinated lowers the likelihood of transmission, it’s certainly smart to err on the side of safety given that we’re still in the midst of a raging pandemic.
Third, and perhaps more importantly, COVID mutations from the UK and South Africa have proven to be more contagious than the original strain. The South African strain is especially worrisome to the extent that it renders existing COVID-19 vaccines less effective.
In light of the above, Dr. Anthony Fauci recently stressed that anyone who has been vaccinated should still wear a mask when out in public.
“We want to make sure that people continue to wear masks despite the fact that they’re vaccinated,” Fauci said.
Fauci also urged people to refrain from going to places where masses of strangers congregate, whether it be a gym, bars, restaurants, or even public transit.
“There are things,” Fauci said recently, “even if you’re vaccinated, that you’re not going to be able to do in society, for example, indoor dining, theaters, (going) places where people congregate.”
Fauci has been practicing what he preaches and recently told NBC that he’s still avoiding indoor dining, air travel, and indoor gatherings.
“We’re still keeping what happens in my home very restricted to my wife and I,” Fauci said.
Fauci also said that he makes a point to only visit grocery stores during non-peak hours.
As to when Fauci believes it will be safe for people to dine indoors and go to places like movie theaters, well, that depends on when the US can reach herd immunity. While some health experts believe we might reach herd immunity by May, Fauci believes it may not happen until late summer or early fall.
“I would think that by the time we get to the fall, where we do get that umbrella of herd immunity,” Fauci said, “that we’ll really be approaching normal, that we can dine indoors, go to theaters, go to movies, go to indoor sports, things like that.”
Meanwhile, both Pfizer and Moderna have said they will significantly boost their supply of COVID-19 vaccine doses by mid-March. If both companies can drastically increase production as promised, it’s possible that the vaccination rate could jump to 2.5 million doses per day. The current vaccination rate is at about 1.3 million doses per day and has seen more than 45.2 million Americans vaccinated since mid-December.