Southcoast Health's Chair for Infectious Disease Prevention, Dr. Eliesel Lacerda de la Cruz, joined Michael and Maddie this morning to share his thoughts on this week's news about two major drug companies, Pfizer and Moderna, announcing very positive results from their clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine.

"Very positive news. Very exciting, and it does bring a lot of hope that we could see a controlled, if not an end, to this nightmare," Dr. Lacerda de la Cruz said. "A 90 percent effectiveness rate from Pfizer, that's just great news!"

The infectious disease chief told us that he would have been satisfied with a 50 or 60 percent efficacy rate, somewhere closer to the effectiveness of the annual flu shot.

"We were not expecting 90 percent effectiveness," he said. "We're all pleasantly surprised."

We asked the doctor what he would say to those people who are still hesitant and do not want to take the vaccine.

"The process for approving a vaccine is a very rigorous one," Dr. Lacerda de la Cruz said. "There has been a collective agreement from the medical, the scientific and the pharmaceutical manufacturers that if a vaccine was not proven effective and safe that they would not pursue approval. If the FDA is allowed to work without interference, and the FDA concludes that the vaccine is safe and effective, you should be fine taking it."

The doctor was less optimistic about some other things. He thought that large families gathering indoors for Thanksgiving without taking precautions could prove to be risky for the transmission of COVID-19.

He also didn't see an end to wearing masks coming anytime soon.

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