VACCINE TEAM: How many days after the first vaccine shot will I start getting protected from COVID 19?

Updated: Mar. 17, 2021 at 8:08 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - A viewer reached out to the Vaccine Team to find out if they were protected after the first vaccination shot.

The only COVID-19 single-dose vaccine approved for emergency use in the United States is the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. If you get that vaccine you can consider yourself protected about 14 days after your shot.

But the two mRNA vaccines, by Moderna and Pfizer, are only complete, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, after you complete both shots. The agency says 14 days after your second dose of the mRNA vaccine, you should consider yourself fully vaccinated.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services describes the first shot as a primer of sorts. It gets your immune system revved up and starts the process of developing antibodies to fight the virus that causes COVID-19.

The second shot is vitally important according to health leaders. While some countries are only giving one shot of vaccines, that has more to do with supply.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots a set number of days apart. You need two doses to build up strong immunity against COVID-19. The goal of the first vaccine dose is to “prime” the immune response, which means that it gets your body ready to have the best protection. The second dose “boosts” the immune response to be fully protected. The second shot will come about 3-4 weeks after the first. It is important to get two doses of the same vaccine.

While other countries may take a different approach to vaccinations, the FDA and CDC continue to recommend that everyone get two shots for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. Currently, there are not enough data to suggest that one shot of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines offers enough protection against COVID-19.

So keep practicing your three W’s until you’re two weeks out from your second dose. And it’s probably a good idea to continue them until we’re told not to!

If you have a question for the WBTV Vaccine team, please send it to us here.

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