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Experts say second dose doesn’t mean we can roll back safety practice

Second doses of the coronavirus vaccine will start going into arms of many who waited in lines in Lee County for their first dose during the early phase of the vaccine rollout.

While getting the second dose means more protection from the virus, it doesn’t mean people should stop taking precautions.

Experts say people should still live life the same way we have been since the onset of the pandemic with masks, social distancing and limiting gatherings. They say life won’t get back to normal until the majority of people get their second shots.

In a few days, the thousands of people who waited in lines in Lee County will get their second doses, and those who we spoke to who are in that situation say they couldn’t be happier.

“It’s a relief,” Patricia Burke said.

Experts say our lives won’t change much after the second shot goes into our arms.

“I think you have to be careful,” Burke said. “A lot of the stress is gone, but you have to be careful.”

“I still think that we will be living in masks for maybe another year. Who knows?” Sally Harrison-Pepper said. “But I will be wearing my pretty masks instead of my big scary ugly masks.”

Robert Hawkes, the founder and director of FGCU’s physician assistant program, says we’ll all need to be cautious for a few more months because not everyone will be protected against COVID-19. That means masks and our six feet of social distancing will still be our way of life.

“Because while they may not have it, it’s possible that they may be carrying it,” Hawkes explained. “You still need to be able to protect others around you, so despite getting the vaccine, you can still spread COVID-19.”

If you’re due for your second dose and are waiting for an appointment in Lee County, check your mailbox. You might have not given a phone number. Florida Department of Health in Lee County told us it’s mailing letters with information about how to schedule your second dose.

The state vendor, Tidal Basin, will call all individuals to schedule second-dose appointments. Those calls began Friday, Jan 15, for appointments to be scheduled on Wednesday, Jan. 27, and Thursday, Jan. 28. Calls were to continue through Friday, Jan. 22 or until Tidal Basin has scheduled all appointments.

“I think, until everyone is vaccinated, it’s just not a good idea to change our behaviors at all,” Harrison-Pepper said.

Reporter:Andryanna Sheppard
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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