How to avoid spreading virus while 2nd vaccine dose builds your immunity


TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - With some people receiving their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, the closer we are to getting a sense of normalcy back.

Even after that second dose, masking and social distancing are still important to protect yourself, and to avoid being a carrier and spreading the virus to others, which can happen for some time, even after you have received your vaccination. This is according to Tom Cummins, the UT Health East Texas Division Chief Medical Officer.

“You actually don’t even get the full benefit of the vaccine until about two weeks after that second dose, so you are still susceptible in that time frame,” said Cummins. “But every recommendation from the World Health Organization, the CDC is to continue masking and social distancing until we get to herd immunity.”

Reaching that goal of herd immunity still brings challenges. Like what if I get the virus in between my two shots, do I start over? Experts say that is not the case as long as you recover before your second dose.

“The recommendation is don’t get the second dose until you finish your time in quarantine, so that 10-day mark with 24 hours without a fever and improving symptoms,” said Cummins.

Even if that quarantine extends past your scheduled second dose, the vaccination will still be effective if you get it as close to that timeframe as possible.

“If for some reason you can’t get it in that window that three- to four-day window around your timeframe get it as close to that as you can,” said Cummins. “Life happens; people have car accidents, they get sick, snow and that’s okay, there is still plenty of benefit to the vaccine if you have to get it several days later.”

Experts urge everyone to get vaccinated as soon as a vaccine is available to them; they say this, along with following safety guidelines, is the most effective way of stopping the spread of the virus.

Copyright 2021 KLTV. All rights reserved.