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Here’s why you can still catch COVID-19 after getting a coronavirus vaccine

Published Jan 13th, 2021 5:43PM EST
Covid Vaccine Can I
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  • According to the CDC, it takes the body a few weeks to build up immunity to the coronavirus after receiving the vaccine.
  • Upon getting vaccinated, people should still make a point to follow coronavirus safety guidelines like social distancing and mask-wearing.
  • More than 10 million Americans have already been vaccinated.

Thanks to the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, we finally have a reason to believe that the pandemic will be nothing more than a distant memory by the end of the year. Impressively, both of the aforementioned vaccines were found to be 95% effective at preventing a COVID-19 infection during clinical trials. As it stands now, the only question is how quickly the U.S. can vaccinate a majority of the population and, in turn, achieve herd immunity.

With the vaccine rollout in the U.S. slowly but surely picking up steam, it’s important that people who receive the vaccine be cognizant of the fact that it’s still possible to catch COVID-19 after the fact. Aside from the fact that both vaccines aren’t 100% effective, the CDC notes that immunity to COVID post-vaccination can sometimes take weeks to develop.

“It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity (protection against the virus that causes COVID-19) after vaccination,” the CDC notes. “That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and still get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.”

The larger takeaway from this is that getting vaccinated doesn’t mean that people should be free to completely disregard basic safety guidelines. On the contrary, people who received the vaccine should still adhere to social distancing, limit indoor gatherings whenever possible, and wear masks when out in public.

Incidentally, the CDC is also urging people who already came down with COVID to get vaccinated.

“At this time,” the CDC adds, “experts do not know how long someone is protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. The immunity someone gains from having an infection, called natural immunity, varies from person to person. Some early evidence suggests natural immunity may not last very long.”

On a related note, Dr. Fauci has expressed frustration with the current vaccine rollout, calling some of the frameworks “too rigid.”

Specifically, Fauci believes the U.S. should vaccinate individuals outside of those in prioritized groups when there happen to be leftover vials that will expire if not used promptly.

“If you can’t get to the people in the first group go to the people in the second group and start doing them,” Fauci said a few days ago. “I think if we do that, we’ll start getting more vaccine into the arms of people.”

“Not to mention,” Fauci added, “we have people who are in the last group, who we have seen are out and about and not taking all the precautions. So if we could get them vaccinated wouldn’t it help all of us?”

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.