- Immune response kicks in about two weeks of the first dose
- It is the second dose of the vaccine that boosts immune response
- Hand hygience, social distancing, wearing a mask continue to be important
Got the COVID-19 vaccine yet? Wondering as to how soon the immunity from the virus will kick in? Look no further. Experts from the World Health Organization recently took to Instagram to talk about a few common queries regarding the vaccines and do's and don'ts to get it and after you are immunised with it. The vaccines that we currently have are all two-dose vaccines. After the first dose, an immune response kicks in about two weeks of the first dose of the vaccine, informs Dr Katherine O'Brien, WHO Director of the Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals.
COVID-19 vaccine: When does the immunity kick in?
It is the second dose of the vaccine that boosts immune response. "We see the immunity get even stronger after the second dose, within a shorter period of time," Dr O'Brien informs.
She goes on to add that it is not known to scientists yet, that how long the immunity lasts from the vaccines that we have in hand right now, she adds. "We're following people who have received vaccinations to find out whether or not the immune response is durable over time and the length of time for which the they're protected against the disease," she says.
Thus, in order to evaluate the length of immune response after getting vaccinated, there's a need for more time to pass, with a greater number of people vaccinated.
What are the chances of catching COVID-19 and spreading it, after getting immunised with the vaccine?
Clinical trials of the vaccines demonstrated that these vaccines protect people from SARS-CoV-2 virus. However, it is still not known is whether or not the vaccines also protect against transmitting the virus to somebody else.
The understanding of how the vaccines protect us, in terms of catching the infection and in terms of transmitting it to others, is an important one for scientists.
There's a need to continue taking precautions even after getting the vaccine
It is important to continue taking precautions for COVID-19 till scientists are still learning about what the vaccines can do. "Can they protect against getting infected and transmitting to someone else? Right now we are still in a situation where there's still very broad transmission in many countries, the transmission is just out of control," says Dr O'Brien.
So, the time till you need to continue taking precautions is going to depend on what communities and countries can do to crush the virus, and stop its transmission.
Point to note
It is important to note that there is still lack of evidence for usage of vaccines in some age groups. We don't have the evidence for use of vaccines in children, for instance. "For the time being, these age groups are going to continue being at risk of both disease and infection, as well as transmission to other people," says the WHO experts.
Furthermore, the vaccines are still in short supply. There's a lack of sufficient vaccines to protect everybody, and this is another important reason why we still need to continue taking precautions like wearing a mask, practicing hand hygiene and physical distancing.
(Dr Katherine O'Brien, WHO Director of the Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals)
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