NEW YORK — As the state continues to make progress in its vaccination campaign against COVID-19, officials are also rolling back restrictions and opening up more businesses — which some in the medical community suggest may be too much, too soon.

“I actually think we are moving a bit too quickly,” Dr. Jennifer Haythe told NY1’s Dean Meminger on Wednesday.

Haythe, a critical care cardiologist and co-director of Columbia’s Women’s Heart Center, cited the news that New York is one of five states now accounting for nearly half of new coronavirus cases nationwide. In addition, the more contagious variant first identified in the United Kingdom is now the dominant variant in the United States.

Meanwhile, with the country averaging nearly 4 million vaccinations a day, Haythe urged people to stay patient, as number of new COVID-19 cases could dramatically decrease over the next six to eight weeks.

Until then, there has been some confusion as people are discouraged attending from large family gatherings, but performance venues and other social spaces are allowed to reopen.

“I think this has been a consistent problem with messaging around this virus, this idea that we’re making some recommendations and not others,” Haythe said.

She advised people to continue to socially distance, and avoid getting together in groups with more than four to six people.

‘This is not the time to get fatigued,” she said. “We’re really moving quickly to get to herd immunity.”

Haythe encouraged parents to get teenagers vaccinated, now that everyone 16 and older is eligible for the vaccine in New York state. She said she already made an appointment for her 16-year-old son, and is eager to get her 13-year-old daughter vaccinated once eligibility opens up.

She also commented on the latest news out of Europe, where the AstraZeneca vaccine – which is not yet approved in the U.S. – has been linked to a rare blood clotting disorder. Haythe pointed out that 25 million people have received the AstraZeneca shot, with less than 100 patients experiencing those side effects. She pointed out that the flu vaccine also causes rare side effects.

But, like the flu vaccine, is it possible we may have to get a coronavirus vaccine yearly? Haythe says she suspects that will be the case, but scientists are still gathering data. For now, both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are shown to provide high levels of protection for at least six months.


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