You’re vaccinated for COVID-19. Now what? UNLV Medicine president shares insight

LAS VEGAS (FOX5) — Sunday marked another day of more than 2 million Americans receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. The CDC will soon publish guidelines for people who are fully vaccinated.

Dr. Michael Gardner, the president of UNLV Medicine, explained what the guidelines could say and which group of valley residents will be vital to vaccinate next.

“There are people literally starting to cry when they get their first vaccine,” he said. UNLV is one of the vaccination sites currently. 

Dr. Gardner is encouraging everyone to receive whichever one of the COVID-19 vaccines is available.

“All three of them are well over 95%, approaching 99%, effective in preventing hospitalization, serious disease and death,” he said.

Dr. Gardner said so far, teams at the school have administered more than 56,000 vaccines, with a handful amount of patients that experienced symptoms. They currently use Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccine, but he said they would gladly take the one-shot Johnson and Johnson once they can.

“Clearly the next big group that we want to get to is casino workers because … that’s where we want to be … We want to be where all the activities that we know and love about Las Vegas are, fully open.”

As more Americans get vaccinated, the CDC is expected to publish guidelines for the fully vaccinated.

“I think it’s highly likely that people who are fully vaccinated sometime between now and the middle of summer to not be wearing masks anymore,” he said.

Dr. Gardner said he thinks those who are fully vaccinated may be able to take more liberties.

“In the coming months, I do think that there’s going to be the ability of people who have been fully vaccinated perhaps attend events, whether that’s concerts or larger gatherings, and such that perhaps the people who haven’t been vaccinated won’t be able to attend or certainly won’t be able to attend without a mask and those kind of things,” he said.

A health worker prepares a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

He also said it’s possible there may even be a fourth vaccine by the summer.

“Things are getting better, they’re going to be a lot better by Memorial Day, by the summer. We still have a ways to go and people need to be vigilant but this is going to get better,” he said.

More than 58 million Americans have now received at least one dose of the vaccine, and more than 30 million have now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. As of March 4, more than 15% of Nevadans have started the vaccination process.