Despite COVID-19 vaccine, you will still need to wear mask, San Antonio doctor warns

Researcher says it will be at least 6 months before virus transmission subsides

A UT Health San Antonio researcher worries people will see the COVID-19 vaccine arrive and neglect safety protocols like wearing masks and social distancing.

SAN ANTONIO – On day one of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution, medical teams in San Antonio got their hands on 5,800 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

UT Health San Antonio was the first to receive the shipments and will reportedly have nearly 30,000 doses by the end of the week.

Though it is exciting news, Dr. Fred Campbell with UT Health San Antonio said he worries people will see the vaccine arrive and neglect safety protocols like wearing masks and social distancing.

“It will be at least six months before we can ensure that the transmission of this virus is curtailed,” Campbell said.

Campbell has not only studied the vaccines. He is also a participant in one of the current vaccine studies.

“Until people are tested and proven to have immunity after vaccination, they can transmit the virus to anyone else,” he said.

Campbell and experts around the globe said the efficacy of the vaccines depends solely on everyone getting it as soon as they’re allowed to receive it.

“The larger the number of people who hesitate to get the vaccine, the longer it will be, until we have what’s considered herd immunity, when the incidents of infection will drop dramatically,” Campbell said.

When asked if he feels with 100% confidence that people should be getting the vaccine as soon as they’re allowed to, Campbell replied, “The investigators and the people doing the approval process for these vaccines are among the most highly ethical people that I know, so I have great confidence.”

However, as first responders and vulnerable populations become the first to be vaccinated, the wait will be longer for the rest of the population.

Campbell said as cases continue to spike across the nation, people need to be patient and continue doing things proven to stop the spread: wearing masks, social distancing and washing their hands.

About the Author:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.