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Tuesday Mar 16 2021
Web Desk

How soon after a coronavirus vaccine can you consider yourself fully protected?

Web Desk

Now that vaccinations in Pakistan are underway, many people who have received one or both of their doses — as well as those on the fence about registering for a shot — have many questions about the level of protection provided and when one can consider themselves "fully vaccinated".

To answer some common queries such as these by people, Nousheen Zaidi, a cancer biologist and the director of Punjab University Cancer Research Centre (CRC), has posted a thread of responses on Twitter, citing an advisory by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to Zaidi, all Pakistanis will receive a two-dose vaccine. "You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after your second dose," she wrote.

She added that if it has been less than two weeks since the second shot or if the second shot has not even been put yet, "you are not fully protected".

"After that period the immunity will kick in," she explained.

Does being vaccinated mean a return to normalcy?

Zaidi also warned against the impression that after one can consider themselves "fully vaccinated" they can return to a pre-COVID19 lifestyle.

"However, you can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask," she said.

The cancer biologist also said that one can gather indoors with unvaccinated people "from one other household (relatives who alll ive together) without masks unless any of those people have an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19".

Why is continued caution necessary?

Zaidi said that one must continue to exercise caution even after receiving both doses because the spread of the virus will likely continue "until a large majority of the population is vaccinated or has survived a natural infection".

How long does immunity last?

One of the most frequently asked question is about how long immunity lasts after a person completes their vaccination course.

Regarding this, the doctor said that this is a question that has yet to be definitively answered by experts.

"We're still learning how long COVID-19 vaccines can protest people. So, we have to wait to find an answer to this question," she said.