Now that the COVID-19 vaccine pipeline has been flowing, more and more people are receiving their shots. According to the Florida Department of Health, as of April 10, 2021, close to 7,103,804 people in the state have been vaccinated.
Whether Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson, all three vaccines offer individuals a strong wall of defense against the deadly coronavirus. As life starts to ease back to some sort of normalcy, many people have been wondering:
“Can I get the COVID variant if I’ve been vaccinated?”
We posed this question to Chad Sanborn, MD, an Infectious Disease Specialist at KIDZ Medical Services. Dr. Sanborn has been a consistent voice of steady information since the onset of the coronavirus. Here’s his assessment.
“We are still collecting data to verify these findings, but more and more we find that the short answer is “yes, as no vaccine gives 100% protection.” It’s very unlikely that you will become infected, and even less likely you’ll become sick from a variant if fully vaccinated.
In the United States, the main variant is the B.1.1.7 (UK) variant, which seems to spread easier and possibly make you more ill, but the vaccines available protect almost equally to the “original, non-variant” Coronavirus.
For the B.1.351 (South African, not circulating nearly to the same extent at the moment in the US) variant, the vaccines seem to produce fewer antibodies against this strain.
However, as we know from studying the immune system, antibody production is only a part of our protection which includes T-cells that help protect against viruses, so decreased antibody production is not the whole story.
Furthermore, decreased antibody production does not equal “not enough” antibody against the variants. So, we still are likely to be protected against becoming ill with these variants. They are more of a problem in the unvaccinated population, as they can spread easier and mutate even further when they are running rampant in the infected individual.”
Chad Sanborn, MD, Infectious Disease Specialist at KIDZ Medical Services. He treats patients with a wide range of infectious diseases such as MRSA, recurrent fevers, skin and bone infections, parasitic infections, HIV, recurrent viral infections, and also provides counsel in travel medicine