Nurse Gets Vaccine, Tests Positive 6 Days Later

Health authorities say they were expecting cases like this, and not to be alarmed
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2020 1:16 AM CST
Updated Dec 30, 2020 6:44 AM CST
Nurse Gets Vaccine, Tests Positive 6 Days Later
A pharmacist administers a COVID-19 vaccination at Kimball Farms Nursing Care Center in Lenox, Mass., Monday, Dec. 28, 2020.   (Ben Garver/The Berkshire Eagle via AP)

Six days after an ER nurse in San Diego was vaccinated for COVID-19, he became ill and tested positive for the coronavirus. But, though the story may sound alarming, health authorities say cases like this are to be expected and are no cause for panic. The 45-year-old got the Pfizer vaccine, which requires two doses spaced three weeks apart, Dec. 18 and started feeling sick Christmas Eve. There's more than one possible explanation, ABC News reports: He may have already been infected when he got vaccinated, since the incubation period can be up to two weeks long, or he could have been infected after getting the shot.

"We know from the vaccine clinical trials that it’s going to take about 10 to 14 days for you to start to develop protection from the vaccine," an infectious disease specialist says. And after the first dose, that protection is thought to reach about 50%—it could get up as high as 95% after the second dose. The specialist adds that he knows of other health care workers who have become infected around the time they got vaccinated. As for the nurse in question, 10 News reports his symptoms peaked on Christmas and he tested positive at a testing site the day after; he says he's been feeling better since then, but is still experiencing fatigue. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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