Why your second COVID-19 vaccine dose is crucial

Reporter: Nicole Lauren Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
A line for vaccinations. Credit: WINK News

If you are still waiting on your call back for your booster shot in Lee County, don’t worry: calls are still going out. And you need to get that second dose.

The first dose of both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are both around just 50% effective, which means you still have the potential to get COVID-19 after that first vaccine.

Dr. Rebekah Bernard with Gulf Coast Primary Care says the first shot should start to kick in after about 10 to 14 days, so you could still contract the virus in the first 2 weeks of that initial vaccine.

“Yeah, we’ve seen that and it seems like it’s most common to happen within the first two weeks because the vaccine takes about two weeks to be effective,” Bernard said. “That is definitely a possibility. And also, even after that two weeks, the vaccine is about potentially 50% effective, up to maybe 80%.”

Between 21 and 28 days, depending on the manufacture, you are due for the booster shot, which will bring the effectiveness of both vaccines up to about 95%. It’s still a long road ahead, but doctors say we can’t let our guard down until we see a large portion of people vaccinated.

“I think, especially until we achieve herd immunity, it’s really prudent to follow all of the precautions that we have been following,” Bernard said. “I know we’re all tired, it’s been going on for so long we just want this to be over… I get that.”

Right now, doctors say if you get the shot a little after the suggested three-week span, you should still be fine.

According to the CDC:

Both COVID-19 mRNA vaccines will need 2 shots to get the most protection. The timing between your first and second shot depends on which vaccine you received. You should get your second shot:

  • for the Pfizer-BioNTech 3 weeks (or 21 days) after your first shot,
  • for the Moderna 1 month (or 28 days) after your first shot.

You should get your second shot as close to the recommended 3-week or 1-month interval as possible. However, there is no maximum interval between the first and second doses for either vaccine. You should not get the second dose earlier than the recommended interval. ​

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