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Infectious disease doctor: Vaccines aren’t fully effective until two weeks after second dose

Those 70 and older who have managed to book an appointment to get the vaccine in Louisville...
Those 70 and older who have managed to book an appointment to get the vaccine in Louisville should consider themselves lucky.(Provided)
Published: Feb. 11, 2021 at 9:11 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WHSV) - In Virginia, hundreds of thousands of people are fully vaccinated. Thousands more have had their first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. So how long does it take for someone to be fully vaccinated?

Health experts said it is not until two weeks after your second dose does the vaccine reaches its full potential.

“The drawback is that it is really good protection but it does take some time in order to build up that immune response because your cells have to learn how to recognize it then they have to make antibodies to it and that all takes a little bit of time. After it has gone through that process then the protection is quite good,” explains Dr. Taison Bell, critical care and infectious disease doctor at the University of Virginia.

About two weeks after the first dose, Dr. Bell said people are 50-80 percent protected. Two weeks after the second dose, he said the vaccine is able to reach its full potential.

“We don’t have enough information at this point to be able to tell whether the vaccine prevents you from being infected with COVID-19 which means you could still potentially spread the SARS COV2 virus to somebody else,” Dr. Bell explained. “As far as the public health measures we do to try and prevent the spread, wearing a mask, washing your hands frequently, trying to avoid indoor closed spaces, none of that should change before or after you receive the COVID-19 vaccine, for now.”

To read more about the available COVID-19 vaccines, click here.

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