What after the second dose?

Quite a busy one this week had been as many people thronged vaccination centers to get the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccines as the government began the second round of the mass vaccination from July 20.

The start has been good as the first day of the vaccination saw more than 96,000 people getting vaccinated. The vaccination roll out ends this coming Tuesday; however, it doesn’t mean that we have got the solution right away to the Covid-19 and that all things will return to normalcy.

According to scientific studies, immunity doesn’t happen immediately after the vaccination and that it typically takes about two weeks for our body to build up immunity. Because of this, one can still become ill during this time frame.

Further, what is worrying is that it’s unknown exactly how long the immunity does last after getting the vaccine. Even studies have not been able to explain this for both one-dose and two-dose vaccines.

Even though we don’t know how long protection from the Covid-19 vaccines lasts, studies have, however, recommended the importance of receiving one’s vaccination when it’s available. This is because vaccination can prevent one from getting Covid-19. Even if we do get the disease, we’ll have a much lower risk for developing a serious or life threatening illness.

Another concern among certain sections of the people is regarding the effectiveness of the second dose considering the timing between one’s first and second shots.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people to get the second dose as close to three-week or 21 days (Pfizer-BioNTech) or four-week or 28 days (Moderna) waiting period as possible.

While it’s recommended that the second shot be given as close to the recommended three-week or four-week interval as possible, the CDC also says that the second dose may be given up to six weeks (42 days) after the first dose, if necessary.

However, in our case, we started the first round of the mass vaccination against Covid-19 from March 27, 2021. Considering the timing of the second dose, we have, therefore, already eclipsed the CDC’s guidelines. We don’t know how effective the second dose of the vaccine will be for us because there is limited information on the effectiveness of receiving one’s second shot earlier than the recommended or later than six weeks after the first shot.

Considering the uncertainties, studies have, therefore, recommended the importance to still continue to take precautions even if we have received both doses of the vaccine/s. We must, therefore, continue with the precaution such as wearing a mask, hand-washing, practicing physical distancing, and avoiding crowded areas.

Rather than an end, the completion of the second round of mass vaccination is just another episode as we continue our relentless fight against the Covid-19.