Doctors: ‘You can be vaccinated and still get symptomatic COVID-19’

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee has reached the half-million mark for those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the Tennessee Department of Health website, nearly 275,000 people have received their first dose of vaccine. Nearly 127,000 others have already received both doses.

Still, doctors say there is still a chance that *some of them still get the virus.

“I could be uninfected… get the vaccine… You could even test me for infection that day, and it would be negative,” said Dr. David Aronoff, Director of Division of Infectious Diseases at VUMC. “But, then after my vaccine, if I happen to get exposed to someone who coughs right in my face and they have COVID-19, I {could} end up getting infected.”

Instead, the vaccine makes it harder to get infected, minimizes symptoms and shortens the length of contagiousness.

“If I get the flu shot, which I did this year, and it turns out to be a perfect match to the circulating flu strain in my neighborhood, I can still get infected with the flu,” said Dr. Aronoff. “But, my infection is likely to be less severe than if I hadn’t been vaccinated.”

Dr. Aronoff says that’s why the vaccine is given in two doses. A person only gets 95% immunity after receiving both shots. There is a four-to-six week window of partial protection.

“We really want to give our immune system a chance to fully respond to these vaccines — to get as much protection out of them as we can — and typically it takes a few weeks for our antibodies to really build up after we get immunized,” said Aronoff.

Even then, a vaccinated person could still contract the virus if exposed in close proximity.

“From the clinical studies, we know there were people who got vaccinated and ended up coming down with symptomatic COVID. But, their COVID was less severe than the people who got placebo.”

Dr. Aronoff still recommends social distancing, mask wearing and good hygiene for those who have already been vaccinated.

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