Full dosage needed to fight COVID-19

  by Aaliyah Bowden

   Dr. Nerissa Price of WakeMed Health in Raleigh stressed the importance of African Americans receiving a second dose.

“It’s really not until after that second shot that you get full protection,” she said. “And full protection we need to clarify as well does not mean 100% protection. It still means that people need to be careful in certain settings where there’s a high number of unvaccinated individuals. I have the simple math. The first shot gets you half the way. The second shot gets you all the way. Even still, we need to be mindful of the new variants and the new information that gets released every day.”

Health experts say that when a person receives a second dose of a vaccine, the immune cells will remember the previous encounter of the vaccination.

The second shot is recommended three weeks after the first Pfizer vaccine and four weeks afterward for Moderna. The second dose is considered skipped when 42 days have passed from the first shot. Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine requires a single shot.

“The level of protection you’re able to get to is significantly different with one shot versus two, and that’s exactly the reason why you need two shots if you’re getting the Pfizer which is the vaccine that’s approved down to 12 [years old],” Dr. Simira L. Brown said in a town hall with the Black Coalition Against COVID. “So, if you’re going to get into that over 90% protection which is incredibly good and protects against every single variant that we have seen here in the U.S., you have to get both to be able to get to that level.”

Health officials say that COVID vaccines are safe and effective against spreading the contagious virus.

Some people may not go back for another dosage because they become busy with work, difficulty trying to schedule another appointment, or fear of severe effects from another shot. But a person isn’t fully protected from the virus with just one dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which take two weeks after the second inoculation to receive full protection.

As the delta variant continues to spread throughout the United States, it is highly recommended more people go back to receive their second COVID shot.

“Sometimes people just get busy, and they don’t come back to the second one or they don’t realize they need to or something,” Priest said. “But at this stage, we very much encourage people to ensure they finished the vaccine series. And occasionally that does happen. Occasionally, people have expected effects – their arm [is] sore, they don’t feel very good after they get it and so maybe that’s a deterrent, but we would encourage people to work through that.”     

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