In this installment of Ask a Doctor, UT Health San Antonio physician Dr. Fred Campbell answers more of Texas Standard listeners’ most pressing questions about the coronavirus.
I’m a senior and have had both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Can I see my grandkids now?
Campbell says while the vaccines are extremely effective at preventing COVID-19 infection, they aren’t a 100% guarantee against it. That means everyone needs to continue the same precautions, including masks and social distancing, especially seniors and other higher-risk individuals. He says precautions will need to continue until the number of COVID-19 cases decreases significantly.
Can I donate plasma to help treat those infected with COVID-19 once I’ve been vaccinated?
Campbell says the body produces antibodies that fight the coronavirus after a person has been infected or after being vaccinated. So it’s possible that any donated blood with those antibodies could be used to help treat those who are sick – a treatment known as convalescent plasma. While convalescent plasma for COVID-19 is not yet approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and while there isn’t much known about the efficacy of plasma from those who’ve received the vaccine, it could be a promising treatment in the future.
“To my knowledge, the studies have not started yet to look at that particular idea. But it is possible that we’ll be using that kind of plasma in the future for treatment of COVID patients,” Campbell said.
Once I’m vaccinated, are there places I should still avoid?
Campbell says even after vaccination, it’s important to gather in outdoor spaces, instead of indoors, and that includes
“Modes of transportation can be a problem because of the inability to prevent crowding,” he said.
Until we reach herd immunity, which could be a long way off, everyone should practice the same precautions health experts have been recommending since early in the pandemic.
“At this point, we still have seniors and high-risk individuals that could have serious infections or even die from COVID between now and the time where public health officials can tell us that the prevalence is so low that there is an acceptable risk,” he said.