Lee Health answers your vaccine questions during virtual town hall

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Jackie Winchester
Credit: WINK News

Thousands of vaccine doses come with thousands of questions, and to answer some of them, Lee Health held a virtual town hall Thursday.

One question WINK News gets from a lot of you is whether there are enough vaccines for people to get a first AND second dose.

“Every conversation I’ve had with leaders in state government has assured us that as we use the vaccine, we will get more, and the more we use the more, we will get,” said Dr. Larry Antonucci, CEO of Lee Health.

The health care system received 10,000 doses in December and put them in the arms of its front line staff members – doctors, nurses and people who work in COVID-19 units.

The next question: When will Lee Health get more vaccines?

“By the end of this week, we will be out of vaccine and we’re anticipating another shipment of vaccine before next week because we do have patients scheduled and we’re anxious to get those in people’s arms,” Antonucci said.

Lee Health hopes to announce its plan to help vaccinate people 65 and over very soon.

One more – and popular – question: Can people get rid of their masks when they get their shots?

The answer is no.

“The reason for this is that even though the vaccine is very effective in keeping you from being sick, we don’t know whether it keeps you from spreading the virus if the virus is present in your system and in your mouth and nose,” Antonucci said.

Experts say it will take months for enough people to get the vaccine before our lives get back to normal.

One more question that came up during the town hall: Can you get one version of the vaccine, such as Pfizer, the first time around and then get the Moderna vaccine for the second dose? The answer to that is no, as vaccines by different manufacturers cannot be mixed.

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