Health experts answer questions about the COVID-19 vaccine


There are many questions, even fears and confusion circulating about the coronavirus vaccine. Conversation ranges from talks of side effects to how long protection last once you get vaccinated.

We spoke to health professionals to curb some concerns that some might have about the COVID-19 vaccine. Scientists and doctors say they’re battling misinformation and vaccine hesitancy.

Is it safe to only get one dose of the vaccine?

“Being partially protected is not going to get us to herd immunity,” said Dr. Susan Bailey, the president of the American Meical Association.

To reach that, health leaders say we need 70% to 80% of Americans vaccinated. But if questions go unanswered, vaccines could go unused.

“The vaccine does not do any good if it stays in that bottle,” said Patsy Stinchfield, the president-elect of the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases.

Can you get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

“There are no live viruses in the COVID vaccines that we have now. They’re incapable of giving you COVID-19,” Bailey said. “If you got COVID-19 for real right after getting your vaccine, that means you got the vaccine too late, and it was already incubating in you when you got the vaccine.”

If get the vaccine, how protected am I from COVID-19?

How long will that last?

Answer: It depends because, while no vaccine is 100% effective, “Let’s say, it’s 95% effective against disease. That means you may be one in that 1 in 20 who, when you get exposed to the virus, is not protected,” said Dr. Paul Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center.

Most of us can expect full protection from severe illness about a week after our second dose and beyond.

“You’ll have protection for years, not decades, and you’ll have incomplete protection that likely protects against disease, but possibly not protection against asymptomatic shedding,” Offit said.

That means a discomfort in the present can provide years of protection in the future.

Will you experience side effects?

Answer: About 15% of people developed short-lived symptoms at the site of the injection. Half developed headaches, chills, fatigue, muscle pain or fever lasting a day or two.

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