Immunity after vaccination
After your final COVID-19 vaccine dose, it takes about two weeks for your body to build up protection. Even after those two weeks, we know these vaccines are good at preventing people from getting sick, but we don't have enough data yet to say whether someone who was vaccinated may still spread the disease to others if they get infected with COVID-19.
It is important to continue to follow all public health guidance to reduce the spread of COVID-19 even after you have been fully vaccinated. This includes wearing a mask, staying 6 feet from others, avoiding crowds, washing your hands, and getting tested for COVID-19 when needed. Continue to follow guidance at your workplace, school, and other settings as well.
At this time, we do not know if this will be a vaccine that people need to get again, like needing a tetanus shot every 10 years or getting a flu shot every year.
Sick from COVID-19 after vaccination
The COVID-19 vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 disease. The COVID-19 vaccine does not provide instant and complete protection. It takes about two weeks after getting fully vaccinated for your body to build up protection from COVID-19 disease. You could be exposed during this time. Although your protection is pretty good after those two weeks, there is still a small chance you could become infected with COVID-19 and develop symptoms. If you do get sick, it is likely that your symptoms will be milder.
While the available vaccines have been shown to be very effective at preventing COVID-19 illness in those who are vaccinated, we are still learning to what degree the vaccine may prevent someone who is vaccinated from passing along the virus to other people. Someone who is vaccinated might be exposed to COVID-19 but have no symptoms. We do not know if that person could still spread COVID-19 to others and not know it. We are also still learning how long protection from the vaccine lasts.
This is why it is important for everyone, whether vaccinated or not, to continue to follow other public health recommendations to prevent the spread of COVID-19: wear a mask, stay 6 feet from others, wash your hands often, get tested when needed, and stay home if sick.
We will continue to evaluate these recommendations as more people in the community get vaccinated and we see how this impacts spread of disease.