Coronavirus vaccines are intended to protect people from getting sick from COVID, so how did a doctor in Georgia and a nurse in California get the virus even after their first vaccine doses? According to experts, it's not because the vaccine didn't work. There are a few reasons you could still get COVID after getting vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says. Keep reading to find out why, and for more vaccine news, check out The Only 2 People Who Shouldn't Get the COVID Vaccine, FDA Official Says.
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It takes a few weeks for your immunity to build up.
The vaccine doesn't immediately give you COVID immunity. According to the CDC, it "typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination." So, if you were exposed to the virus just before or just after receiving your vaccine, you could still get sick with COVID. "This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection," the CDC explains. And for more from the leading health agency, take a look at why The CDC Just Issued This Grim Warning About the COVID Surge.
The vaccine isn't 100 percent effective.
No vaccine is 100 percent effective, according to the CDC. Both of the two U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved COVID vaccines are around 95 percent effective after two doses, but they are less effective if you have only gotten one dose so far, like the ER doctor and nurse who made the news. According to the FDA, the Moderna vaccine is 50.8 percent effective right after the first dose, and the Pfizer shot is 52.4 percent after the first dose. And for more on the vaccine, find out why The FDA Just Ruled You Can't Do These 4 Things With the COVID Vaccines.
But you can't get COVID from the vaccine.
Some people are skittish about getting the vaccine because they think it will make them sick with COVID. However, neither of the two coronavirus vaccines currently approved in the U.S. contain the live virus that causes COVID. Instead, both vaccines are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines, which means once they are injected into your body, they teach cells to make proteins that trigger an immune response. This immune response produces antibodies, which are what protect you from getting seriously sick if you get infected with the virus, the CDC explains. "This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with COVID-19," the health agency notes. And for more up-to-date COVID news, sign up for our daily newsletter.
It's still unknown how long immunity will last from the vaccine.
If you recover from COVID, your body builds some natural immunity to the virus, and the vaccines are meant to supply this immunity in individuals who haven't gotten COVID via mRNA. But according to the CDC, experts still don't know how long someone is protected from the virus after getting sick or getting vaccinated. "We won't know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until we have more data on how well the vaccines work," the CDC states. So it could be possible for your immunity to wane if it has been some time since you were vaccinated. But most experts, like Anthony Fauci, MD, predict your vaccine-induced immunity will last at least a year. And for more vaccine news, check out Dr. Fauci Just Gave This Warning About COVID Vaccine Side Effects.