So you've been vaccinated. Now what?

Source:  NYSUT Program Services
vaccine faq

So, you’ve been vaccinated. Now what?

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It takes time for the effectiveness of both vaccines to build up.

With the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, protection doesn’t start until 12 days after the first shot and it reaches 52% effectiveness a few weeks later. A week after the second vaccination is when the effectiveness rate reaches 95%. Moderna has reported a protection rate of 51% two weeks after the first immunization and 94% two weeks after the second dose.

Scientists are still gathering data on whether you can be asymptomatic and able to shed the virus after vaccination.

There is the possibility that if you encounter COVID-19, after being vaccinated, you may not display symptoms but be able to shed the virus. This is because your immune system may not fight off the virus completely. It might allow some viruses to survive and reproduce and get expelled from your nose or mouth in a breath, cough or sneeze. Scientists must still collect data on whether vaccinated people can test positive for COVID-19 after being vaccinated before we can amend mitigation strategies.

(Adapted from NPR article, “Why You Should Still Wear A Mask And Avoid Crowds After Getting The COVID-19 Vaccine”)

What is herd immunity and when will we achieve it?

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines will not give you COVID-19; mRNA vaccines do not use the live virus that causes COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that experts do not know exactly what percentage of people would need to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity to COVID-19. The World Health Organization’s chief scientist warned that herd immunity is not likely in 2021.

“Herd immunity is a term used to describe when enough people have protection -— either from previous infection or vaccination—that it is unlikely a virus or bacteria can spread and cause disease. As a result, everyone within the community is protected even if some people don’t have any protection themselves. The percentage of people who need to have protection in order to achieve herd immunity varies by disease.”

Until we have reached an acceptable, to be determined, level of herd immunity we must maintain our practices of mask wearing, maintaining social distance and washing our hands. These practices will protect us all.

I’ve been vaccinated but have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. Do I need to quarantine?

We have not been advised whether you’ll need to quarantine after you receive both vaccine doses. Out of an abundance of caution, it would be wise to quarantine until we are given further guidance from the CDC or the governor.