1970 billboard encouraging measles vaccinations

Kent Health Officer William Webb said Monday that receiving a COVID-19 vaccine will not mean you can throw caution to the wind and abandon safety precautions.

“All we know at this point is that the vaccine will protect you from becoming unable to breathe and dying,” Webb said in an interview Monday. “But we don’t know yet that you can’t become infected again and pass it on to others.”

Webb said that Maryland was still in a state of emergency and citizens should continue to follow Gov. Larry Hogan’s emergency order whether they’ve received a vaccination or not.

“You could get the full vaccine series and still get infected without knowing it,” he said. “You could have no symptoms and pass it on to someone else. This is one of the things we still don’t know yet about this vaccine.”

Webb said it will take 6 to 8 months of data to determine if the vaccine can stop community spread of the coronavirus — like the measles vaccine does.

“When you get the measles vaccine you don’t contract it or pass it on. We know that because we’ve been working with measles vaccines for over a half a century,” he said. “With the COVID-19 vaccine, all we know is that the likelihood of not getting sick and dying is significantly better than without the vaccine.”

Webb announced last week that the first round of vaccines coming to Kent this month will be for healthcare workers, nursing home residents and first responders. High risk groups and those 65 or older will come next.

Mass vaccinations for the rest of Kent residents are expected in mid-to-late January.