Infectious disease specialist answers your COVID-19 questions

Dr. Ruth Berggren talks about face shields, vaccines and testing

Dr. Ruth Berggren answers your COVID-19 questions.

SAN ANTONIO – During a Q&A on Thursday, Dr. Ruth Berggren, an infectious disease specialist from UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine, answered questions submitted by viewers.

Can a face shield be worn instead of a face mask?

“You’re worse off just wearing a face shield. So, if you’re going to use it at all, it needs to be in addition to a good face mask, which has to have the nice snug fit here alongside your cheeks,” Berggren said.

She says face masks act as a barrier to “catch some of the big droplets that are coming at you if somebody sneezes.”

Will the COVID-19 vaccine cause bad side effects?

There are more than 100 COVID-19 vaccines being studied right now. About six of them have made it to phase three in clinical trials.

Berggren said some of the early research shows that the side effects are similar to the flu vaccine.

“That means that your arm could get a little sore, you might feel a little achy. You might even have a low grade fever. These are not surprising,” she said.

Will we be able to go to school without masks and gloves one day?

“I believe that one day we will go to school without masks and gloves on. I really do,” Berggren said. “And the reason I believe that is the progress that’s been made so far with the vaccine development and also with drug development.”

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Steve Spriester started at KSAT in 1995 as a general assignments reporter. Now, he anchors the station's top-rated 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.