ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Some hospital workers in the Finger Lakes region have started receiving the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Doctors say immunity is achieved about two to three weeks after receiving the second dose of the COVID vaccine. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t transmit the virus once you’re immune.
Dr. Emil Lesho is an infectious disease specialist with Rochester Regional Health.
“The ability for the vaccine to prevent transmission has not been studied and that’s not what they’re designed to do. Now, what you know from getting the vaccine is it has the ability to protect the person who got the vaccine from getting COVID,” Dr. Lesho said.
He said as the vaccine rollout is happening slower than anticipated even those who are vaccinated could transmit the virus to those who are still vulnerable. Achieving herd immunity is when we’ll be able to let our guards down.
“Once 85% or 90% of everybody that lives in the community gets the vaccine or has immunity that’s when we’ll be at that herd immunity level.”
Dr. Lesho said we’re also not sure how long immunity lasts and how often we’ll have to be vaccinated for COVID-19. For example, he said we usually don’t know until about a year later how effective the flu vaccine is each year.
“We don’t know if its gonna be like the flu vaccine where we have to get it every year,” he said. “We can be reasonably sure we are protected for at least 90 days, we know that because its very rare for us to see people get COVID twice or reinfected within 90 days. It may be longer but that’s the evidence we have.”
Dr. Lesho said it’s hard to tell at this point when herd immunity will be achieved and until then everyone should continue wearing a mask and taking all other precautions.