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COVID-19 vaccine booster dose administration starts; face masks might stay mandatory until 2023

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Adrian Streinu Cercel

Doctor Adrian Streinu-Cercel said on Sunday, after being vaccinated with a second dose against COVID-19, that seven days after the booster dose is administered there is no longer any risk of developing severe forms of COVID-19.

"Theoretically, seven days after the booster dose we can breathe a sigh of relief because we are no longer at risk of developing severe infections with the novel coronavirus. But beware, the mask will remain mandatory (...) until 2023, because this vaccine protects us from the inside, it does not protect our mucous membranes, so if we take the mask off and give up on it, we will stand a great chance of getting a virus that we will then pass on to people who are not immunised and we will continue to generate disease," Streinu-Cercel said at the Matei Bals National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Bucharest.

He compared the COVID-19 pandemic to a comet.

"We know that the comet has a tail that is long, that tail is also the tail of the pandemic, and as such there will be cases until they dwindle enough so that we can say that the virus has left the normal biological circuit," said the doctor, a former director of the Matei Bals Institute.

Asked by reporters what to do if the vaccinated person comes in contact with another person infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus two weeks after the booster shot, Streinu-Cercel replied: "You don't need to be in quarantine, you need to be monitored. Precautionary measures taken so far should be kept in place and even strengthened, so that these two elements - vaccination immunisation and protection measures - together may lead to a reduction in the very rapid communication of this virus in people."

According to the doctor, this vaccine protects us from all the strains that are in circulation at the moment.

"I don't know what will happen in a year, that's why we have to hurry to vaccinate everything that can be vaccinated this year and at a quick pace so as to immunise as many people as possible and try to get the virus out of circulation," said the doctor.

Health staff in Romania are receiving a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine today. Among those who were vaccinated with the second dose was nurse Mihaela Anghel of the Matei Bals National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Bucharest, the first to receive the vaccine at the beginning of the immunisation campaign.

"It's quite difficult and we are trying to cope, but we hope with this vaccine will help us get rid of the pandemic. I felt very privileged to be the first to be vaccinated and I thanked everyone for having been was chosen first," she said

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