I'm excited to share our story of getting the second dose of the Moderna Vaccine. Some of the questions I answer are: How does it feel to be immune to severe disease? Where is the US at with vaccinations? What about Variants? What is happening in our area?
So How Does Immunity Feel?
Our vaccine immunity has set in and it feels great. I’d say the feeling is somewhere between
Immunity sets in two weeks after the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. According to the data from the trials we are 95% protected from ANY symptoms and virtually 100% protected from severe disease.
So what was our experience?
As a refresher, this is what happened in the Moderna Trials. There were more adverse responses after the second dose. The percentages were injection site pain (91.6%), fatigue (68.5%), headache (63.0%), muscle pain (59.6%), joint pain (44.8%), and chills (43.4%).
I got the second dose 28 days after my first dose. I got a sore arm again and that was it. It was pretty sore but I actually drove 10 hours to Alabama the next day. My daughter has cerebral palsy and was doing physical therapy down there. I don’t know if I’d recommended that long of a drive right after, but I did it with no problems at all. There were 7 people in our office that have now received their second dose.
After the second dose, 3 of 7 had arm soreness only. 1 had mild fatigue for 1 day. 2 had chills and generally felt down and out of 2 days and then felt great. And 1 had chills and generally felt down and out for 4 days and then felt great. All said they would take it again in a heartbeat.
After the first dose, 6 of 7 of us had arm soreness only and 1 had 1 day of fatigue.
So what can we do now?
It’s now safe for us to meet with other vaccinated folks indoors, maskless and not be concerned for our safety or for their safety.
The CDC has now said that fully vaccinated people do not need to quarantine, even if they think they’ve had an exposure.
Where are we at with vaccinations?
As of today (2/13/21) there are 52 million US citizens that have received their first dose and there are about 1.6 millions doses being given daily. Over 172 million doses have been given worldwide and there are no signals of safety concern. This is great news!
There was some initial concern that there may be elevated levels of Bell's Palsy because there were 7 cases out of ~36,000 in the vaccine group and 1 case out of ~36,000 in the placebo group during the vaccine trials. However, as millions of people have been vaccinated, there has not been a higher rate of Bell’s Palsy cases than what typically occurs in the general population. You may feel crappy for a few days, especially after the second dose. But the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are safe! YES!
The best website to track vaccination progress that I’ve found is: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution/ .
What about variants?
So far the vaccines are holding up with the B117 variant (the UK variant) and the B351 (The South African variant). The critical question to look for is: "Are vaccinated people becoming hospitalized or severely ill from one of these variants?". And so far the answer is no.
What about kids?
There are 80 million Americans under the age of 18. Currently, the vaccines are being tested in 12-15 year olds. If proven to be safe for that age range, they will start trials for 6-12 year olds.
It’s possible but unlikely that children will be vaccinated by next school year, so it’s too soon to tell what will happen next school year as far as masks go. My guess is they will still be wearing masks.
Can we reach herd immunity and if so, when?
We still don’t know at what point exactly how many Americans need to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity or if it’s even possible. That said, if we assume that we need to get to 60-80% of people vaccinated. According to the best projections, we should be at 60% of Americans vaccinated by late May or Early June. The bad news is that the projection shows hitting 80% won’t likely happen in 2021. Hopefully that’s not true or we don’t need 80%!!
You can keep track of our progress to herd immunity here:
What’s happening in our area?
This is from Woodford County through 2/6/21, but Marshall County looks very similar. The best news from these graphs is that we peaked BEFORE Thanksgiving and Christmas and rates have continued to fall all through January and beginning of February. This is not an effect of the vaccine. So once the effects of the vaccine are added, it’s likely to get much better.
These graphs also represent what it FELT like to us at the time in November. We were having patients left and right call in and say they had COVID and we are not getting nearly as much of that lately, now that the case rate has fallen 77%.
Want to read or watch to learn further?
This is a link to the numbers in our area. I think this section is the most helpful. https://www.dph.illinois.gov/countyschool?county=Woodford
This FAQ about the vaccines is the best that I've seen. It was made for doctors to answer questions for their patients. https://www.nejm.org/covid-vaccine/faq
This is an article I thought was interesting. It’s written by a virologist.
I really like the clinical updates with Daniel Griffin. https://www.microbe.tv/twiv/archive/
The JAMA Network also has a really good Youtube channel with Dr. Bachner. https://youtu.be/RxO5iGkMhow