Family Healthcast: More on the COVID-19 vaccine

Family Healthcast

(WSYR-TV) — How quickly does immunity kick in after you get the COVID-19 vaccine? That question is being asked after three members of Congress tested positive after sheltering in a crowded room as a mob stormed the Capitol last week.

“Those representatives had recently received their first COVID vaccines and so did their colleagues who refused to put on masks. How quickly does immunity kick in?”

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses for full protection. A single dose is not as effective as both. But, there is some protection after the first dose.

Infectious disease doctors say it takes about 12 days after the first dose to see some protection. It’s estimated to be around 50% effective after the first dose.

And the vaccine should be around 95% effective a week or two after the second dose.

Even though vaccines keep people from getting sick, we do not know if people who get the shots can still spread COVID-19.

This is why wearing masks and keeping our distance will be needed until many more Americans are vaccinated.

“The goal of the vaccination campaign against COVID-19 is herd immunity. How many people need to get the shots for that to happen?”

Herd immunity is the point at which so few people are susceptible to infection that the virus runs out of places to go.

In the early days of the pandemic, doctors estimated that would require inoculating about two-thirds of the U.S. population.

Now many of those same experts think that figure is almost certainly too low. Dr. Anthony Fauci is saying:

“If you really want a blanket of protection over the country… You want about 75% to 85% of the country to get vaccinated.”

We will know when we hit herd immunity when the number of people who test positive falls to an extremely low level.

It could turn out that reaching herd immunity depends not only on how many people are vaccinated, but also which people.

Inoculating those most likely to spread it — people who live or work in close quarters, for example — may do much more to contain the pandemic than vaccinating those who live in relative seclusion.

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