4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020


Doctors emphasize importance of getting second COVID-19 vaccine dose

Experts say first dose offers only up to 50% protection
Posted at 2:57 PM, Jan 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-13 15:24:04-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — While many in West Michigan are still waiting for their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, doctors are reminding everyone about the importance of returning for that second shot.

Dr. Andrew Jameson, the Division Chief of Infectious Disease at Mercy Health, explained why one shot shouldn’t give anyone a false sense of security.

“That second shot just adds so much more protection,” he said.

Dr. Jameson said now that more groups are getting their first doses of the vaccine, it’s important to come back about three weeks later for the second.

“Your immunity doesn’t kick in for 10 to 14 days, and even at that point, it maxes out at around 50 percent viral efficacy,” he said.

That 50 percent efficacy rate is why Dr. Jameson is stressing the importance of continuing to wear masks and practice social distancing as you move through the vaccination process.

“We’ve seen a lot of individuals, and actually a few of our coworkers that have gotten the first dose and then gotten COVID within a week,” Dr. Jameson said.

It’s also worth noting that if you do get sick, it can throw your vaccine schedule off track.

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Dr. Jameson said, “We are kind of going out 3 to 4 weeks after they recover, but that is way outside that second dose window, and so we are kind of operating in a blind spot.”

Safety precautions are still recommended even after your second dose.

“It’s not very efficacious until a week after that booster, and even then it’s 95 percent--it’s not 100 percent. So we kind of want people to still be smart about it,” he said.

Dr. Jameson added that it’s important not to resume "life as normal" just yet if you have been able to get vaccinated.

“If you do get infected, you’re still going to put those around you at risk, and so those who might not get the vaccine, or your loved ones who are higher at risk--you just don’t know who you’re going to potentially infect as part of that circle.”

The process may be slow going, but Dr. Jameson said they’re working around the clock to make sure every month is better than the last.

He said, “These are steps, and our steps are so much better than they were six months ago, and we have kind of some things coming. I look ahead to the spring, and outdoors, plus the vaccine and I just know what we’re doing as a community. We are getting there, but we just have to be patient.”

Mercy Health has been testing out a vaccination clinic for the 1b group this week in Kentwood and plans to open it fully on Friday, Jan. 15.

Dr. Jameson reports that they are vaccinating about 800 people per day but feels that could go up to 1,000 people per day in the very near future.


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