We were joined this morning by the head of Southcoast Health's Infectious Disease Prevention, Dr. Eliesel Lacerda De La Cruz.

It's been a big week for news about COVID-19 vaccines. We learned that the federal government has put in a nearly $2 billion order for 100 million vaccines that were developed by Pfizer. Maderna here in the U.S. and Oxford University in the U.K. are also experiencing some hopeful results in their development of vaccines.

Dr. Lacerda De La Cruz told us that he spent some time this week with the developers of one of the vaccines, Maderna, located in Cambridge. The doctor was encouraged by the fact that these three companies will begin phase three clinical trials which, if all goes well, could mean a vaccine available to the world by the beginning of the year.

Some have expressed concern about being injected with a vaccine that has been developed so quickly. We asked the infectious disease chief if he himself would get the vaccine. He said that phase three clinical trials will test the vaccine on roughly 30,000 people for each drug. Dr. Lacerda De La Cruz told us that "if those studies in phase three show that the vaccine is effective and is safe, I will take it."

We also asked the doctor to share his thoughts about CDC Director Robert Redfield's opinion that we could get COVID-19 "under control" if everyone in the nation committed to wearing masks for 4-8 weeks. Dr. Lacerda De La Cruz did not agree that the masks alone could get the situation back under control. To be clear, he avidly endorses the importance of wearing masks and washing hands. He couldn't say it enough while he was on with us. He thinks masks play a big part, but not the only part.

Listen to the complete interview above to hear the latest SouthCoast COVID-19 numbers and the doctor's opinion about whether or not three feet of distancing is still too close for school children.

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