Doctors urge caution despite more people receiving COVID-19 vaccine


COLUMBUS (WCMH) – More and more Ohioans are getting vaccinated against the coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean things are back to normal just yet.

Doctors are still urging caution, especially with Franklin County on the warning list to potentially go purple, the state’s highest designation for COVID-19 spread and exposure.

Many people said they’re concerned about the relaxed atmosphere when it comes to keeping up with COVID-19 mitigation measures such as masking and social distancing.

It’s something that has doctors worried as well, specifically in public places.

One important measure may seem to be going by the wayside.

“I see a lot less people wearing masks,” said Columbus resident Patrick Dunakin.

He believes it’s because more people have received their first COVID-19 vaccination shot.

“When I came back to visit, I was shocked to see just that there are much fewer masks from what I could tell,” said Megan Keenan, who was visiting family in central Ohio.

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center Pulmonary and Critical Care Dr. Jim Allen said people should continue wearing masks, especially when they’re out and about in public, like restaurants and patios.

He said that’s the best practice, along with following social distancing.

“Just because you’ve had peak antibody production and you have immunity doesn’t mean you can’t get infected,” Allen said.

The CDC said people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the single dose of Johnson & Johnson or after the second dose of Moderna or Pfizer.

Private gatherings of people who are fully vaccinated are OK, but there should be caution there as well.

Allen said he’s less concerned about transmission between vaccinated members of a household.

“These vaccines are extremely good at preventing death from COVID,” he said. “They are extremely good at preventing hospitalization from COVID, but they only prevent somewhere in the 70 to 95 percent of mild COVID, so you can still get COVID and pass it on to other people.”

Keenan said she’s OK with traveling because she’s been vaccinated, but still worries about spread locally.

“I think it makes all the sense in the world that people are tiring of the restrictions, but they’re stilll so important and we’re so close with vaccinations especially in Ohio being so prevalent right now that I think that just holding out a little bit longer until folks are safe is so important in this last stretch,” she said.

Dunakin agrees, saying he’s still looking out for people who might not have received the shot.

“And I still think it is worth it to still wear your mask because until everyone is vaccinated and you still have to take precautions,” he said.

Allen is urging people to keep up with wearing masks because you never know who might be sick. He did say if you are vaccinated and begin to feel COVID-19 symptoms to start masking up again and potentially get tested.

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