Expert urges continued caution even after receiving COVID-19 vaccine

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Posted at 12:34 PM, Feb 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-25 12:34:42-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Vaccines to those most vulnerable continue to roll out in Virginia. While vaccine doses continue to get administered, health experts are urging people to continue to use caution.

"Because the disease looks like it is less severe and those who are vaccinated, you may even have more people who are carrying the virus who don't know," Michelle Doll, Assistant Professor of Medicine at VCU School of Medicine, said. "So asymptomatic infection after the vaccine is definitely possible."

Doll, who is also an associate hospital epidemeologist, said once someone has been fully vaccinated against the virus, meaning they've received both vaccine doses, the risk of catching the virus and having severe symptoms are much lower.

“Even after you're vaccinated, it seems like those cases of COVID-19 are much less severe," Doll said.

Doll said for that reason, people should continue to wear a mask, as no vaccines are 100% effective.

"You would still want to be doing the same distancing to the extent possible, you would still absolutely want to be masking, maintaining good hand hygiene at every opportunity, and protect yourself to the best extent possible," Doll said.

The Virginia Department of Health reports that over 543,000 people have been fully vaccinated so far in Virginia.

Doll hopes that number can continue growing.

"Hopefully moving forward, we get to a place where community transmission is low enough. We have enough information about the post vaccine risk of the population in general that we can truly let down our guard," Doll said.