POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Two million Floridians have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, state data shows, but it doesn’t mean they should let their guard down.
Nearly 10,000 people in Polk County have received both doses of their vaccine, including Dr. Tim Regan.
“There’s nothing I’d like more in the world than to just have my mask off and have life go back to normal but the reality is that not everybody has been vaccinated,” said Dr. Regan, Chief Medical Officer at Lakeland Regional Health.
While the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are highly effective at preventing recipients from getting seriously ill from COVID-19, it is unknown at this time if it stops the transmission.
“We don’t yet know whether getting a COVID-19 vaccine will prevent you from spreading the virus that causes COVID-19 to other people, even if you don’t get sick yourself,” reads a statement on the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention website.
“The bigger risk is that people could potentially give it to people who are not vaccinated. That’s why it’s going to take awhile before life truly goes back to normal,” said Dr. Regan.
Even people who are fully vaccinated should wear their masks, maintain a social distance and avoid crowds.
It is also unknown exactly how effective the vaccines are against the U.K. and South African variants.
Moderna and Pfizer now say their vaccines are “slightly less protective” against the South African variant, according to the New York Times.
“Moderna has said that it is in the process of creating a booster to address those variants. Again, there’s so little data at this point. It’s hard to give a definitive answer,” said Dr. Regan.
Lakeland Regional Health announced Monday it received 1,000 more doses designated for people under the age of 65 with underlying health conditions.
The hospital is reaching out to eligible patients who have Down Syndrome, who are undergoing chemotherapy treatments or are undergoing dialysis due to chronic kidney disease.
The doses have been designated to these patients and there are no waiting lists or appointment requests available.