Dispelling COVID vaccine myths after partially-immunized nurse tests positive

Dispelling COVID vaccine myths after partially-immunized nurse tests positive

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - A UVA Health doctor is busting myths after a lot of talk about a California nurse who tested positive for COVID-19 more than a week after getting the vaccine.

Stories like that can often lead to misinformation about the COVID vaccine, especially on social media. But before it spreads, Dr. Taison Bell, a leader in the Charlottesville health landscape, helped separate fact from fiction.

“This case actually went the same way the trial would have predicted,” Bell, who directs the ICU at UVA Health, said.

He says the trial shows the vaccine becomes more effective over time, especially after the second shot.

“What it did show is that you did have some protection after receiving the first dose of the vaccine, but it takes a while to make that immune response,” he said.

This chart from the Pfizer trial, which Dr. Bell tweeted, shows that separation best. The frequency of COVID infections stays roughly the same for the first 10 days whether you were vaccinated or not. But, in the weeks after the shot, those who received the vaccine were more protected.

“Now it’s true that you do get some protection after that first shot, after about a week or two, but it’s only around 50%,” Dr. Bell said. “Then you have to get that second dose, and then after another 7-10 days or so, that’s when you get that full 95% protection.”

Bell also remains clear that getting the vaccine, when it’s made available to you, is the right call.

“This should not discourage anyone from getting the vaccine whatsoever because it doesn’t show anything different than what we saw in the trials.”

This case does underscore the importance of continuing to follow health guidelines.

“Is it possible that you could get infected still? Of course,” Bell said. “Is it possible that you could get infected and pass it on to others? We don’t know at this point. So until we have more information about that we really should stick with social distancing, wear a mask, only go outdoors if you need to.”

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