Dr. Paul Offit, who advises the National Institutes of Health and Food and Drug Administration on COVID vaccines, recently stated the best hope for ending the pandemic isn’t to choose between masks, physical distancing and vaccines, but to combine them.
Last week, I gave you reasons to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This week, we look at why you need to continue to take precautions against the virus after getting your shot. It might seem counterintuitive, but maintaining the trifecta of handwashing, distancing, and wearing a face covering is vital even after receiving the vaccine.
First, a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that protection from the Pfizer vaccine doesn't start until 12 days after the first shot and it reaches 52% effectiveness a few weeks later. It’s not until a week after the second vaccination, that the effectiveness rate hits 95%.Similarly, the,Moderna vaccine has a protection rate of 51% two weeks after the first immunization and 94% two weeks after the second dose.
Next, while we know that getting the vaccine can keep you from getting sick with COVID, the data to answer the question of whether vaccinated people can still spread the virus are just now being collected. In short, you might not get sick, but you could still make someone else sick.
So, to protect yourself until you are fully immunized and to protect others until we reach herd immunity, keep your hands clean, your mask on, and your distance from others.