Common COVID vaccine questions answered by local healthcare expert

Updated: Mar. 8, 2021 at 7:59 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Over 1.2 million doses across Louisiana of the COVID vaccine have been administered, though there are still many unanswered questions.

Dr. Timothy Haman, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Christus Ochsner SWLA and Infectious Disease Specialist answered some of the most frequently asked questions.

Q: Do I still need to get the vaccine if I was already infected by COVID-19?

A: “There’s no real official guidance to wait. We do feel that based, especially with experiences with prior infections, and with prior vaccines, that the immunity that you get from a vaccine is better than the immunity that you get from having the infection itself. There are some people who may have had a mild or an asymptomatic case where their body may not produce significant amounts of antibodies, and so that immunity may not last as long.”

Q: Do we know how long immunity from the vaccines will last?

A: “While we’re hopeful that it will last a year or years, there’s just not enough data yet to know. But we do know that it lasts at least three months. It’s really too early to tell. I don’t anticipate that we would be revaccinating people that soon because we probably would not have completed the initial vaccination by then, but, you know, we do anticipate that there may be a need at some point in the future to at least get booster shots for people.”

Q: How long after the vaccine does it take for immunity to kick in?

“Both the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccine works similarly. You generally get about 50 percent immunity two weeks after the first dose. We generally don’t see full immunity, which is the 94, 95 percent protection that you see, until about a week after you get your second dose.”

Q: What are the long-term effects?

A: “I think with any new, anything new - any medication, new treatment - there are going to be questions about the long-term effects because there are things that that you just don’t know, but I think the way that these vaccines are designed, they’re small pieces of messenger RNA that are designed to make your cells produce the spike protein on the virus. They come in, they do that and then they disappear. This is not something that should have any long-lasting effect.”

Q: What about the possibility of causing infertility later down the line?

A: “In terms of infertility, there’s absolutely no evidence that that’s the case. ACOG, which is the national society for OBGYNS, recommends that women get the injection. There was no difference in terms of pregnancy, miscarriage, or anything like that in the vaccine group, so there’s no evidence that it provides any sort of harm to a woman’s ability to get pregnant.”

Q: Can it alter DNA?

A: “No. The way that these vaccines are designed, they never even enter the nucleus of your cell, which is where the DNA is found, so they don’t even have access to the DNA. To modify it, they strictly get into the cytoplasm, which is kind of the outside part of the cell.”

For more myths vs facts regarding the vaccine, click HERE.

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