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Utah doctor: Still wear a mask, distance in public after receiving vaccine

Signs remind visitors that masks are required inside the Utah Capitol. (PHOTO: Mike Anderson/KSL-TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah doctor is advising those who are fully vaccinated to remain cautious while in public.

Utah doctor is preaching caution

With the arrival of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, Utah is approaching 800,000 total vaccines administered. Additionally, roughly a tenth of the total population is already fully vaccinated.

While the numbers are encouraging and continue to grow every day, Dr. Brandon Webb with Intermountain Healthcare said those who are fully vaccinated shouldn’t view that as a free pass to resume normal life.

“Not everyone should view the vaccine as a ticket to full freedom,” he said Friday afternoon. “As a community, we’re not yet at a point where we have enough immunity to be able to give the green light,”

He projects that the state is somewhere around 30% of achieving herd immunity.

On Thursday, Gov. Spencer Cox announced that Salt Lake County is moving to the “moderate” transmission phase for the virus, which will loosen some public health restrictions.

Staying safe for others

Despite the announcement, Webb warns many people who have not yet received the vaccine are still considered to be high-risk.

“I think it’s important to recognize there are many in our community, and especially in this last phase, who are eligible for the vaccine because of their risk,” he said.

While the overarching message is to remain cautious, he said fully-vaccinated individuals should feel some freedom to expand their social horizons. He mentioned specifically the possibility of visiting a friend or family member who is also healthy and fully vaccinated.

“You know, making some intentional decisions about the risks that you have been very careful about to date and being around those you love is absolutely appropriate,” he said.