Coronavirus Chronicles — Got the Jab, What Next?

This continues the topic of the previous post. What does it mean to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19? It means you have had both shots, if it’s that type of vaccine, or the one shot, if it’s the other kind. Then, another two weeks must go by. Infection can’t typically be identified right away. It has to stew for a while before it becomes detectable for testing. So, during this after-shot period, you are still considered vulnerable, and if exposed to an infected person, should quarantine for two additional weeks, and then be tested.

Of course, that only works if you are lucky enough to be aware of the risk. Anyone you run into could be a sick person who doesn’t know yet that they are sick. You could encounter an asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic person who might pass the virus on to you before your vaccine has a chance to kick in. Which is why the handwash-mask-distance lifestyle continues, even after vaccination.

No one knows

Three months later, all bets are off, because the length of immunity is anybody’s guess. It is really too early to tell, but like everything else in life, the effort to get rid of this virus is multifactorial. A lot of different influences are in play. Sometimes, it doesn’t work out.

As one example, alarming news came out earlier this month: “4 people in Oregon test positive for coronavirus after receiving both doses of vaccine.” They were, by definition, “fully vaccinated.” And yet, they caught it anyway:

Oregon is among the first states nationwide to report “breakthrough cases” — people who test positive for coronavirus at least 14 days after receiving their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine… The four people had mild or no symptoms. Officials say that studies show that the vaccine may help reduce the severity of the illness.

This is, basically, what it means to have a 95% effectiveness rate. It means that 5% of the people still might catch it. The vaccine is not guaranteed to stop anyone from contracting the virus. What it can do is make your case a lot less serious, and probably keep you from dying.

Really, no matter what a person’s vaccination status is, it makes sense, in the interest of sheer self-preservation, to stick with the routine. At the same time, while taking care of ourselves, we are also extending this care to others. But the way is not always clear. Journalist and former biologist Yasmin Tayag writes,

The changes to the CDC’s guidance imply that a person who has been fully vaccinated is not at risk of becoming infected with Covid-19 after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive.

“Imply” is the operative word there. Even with brilliant science trying its hardest, it might be best to not take anything for granted. To put it another way, the January/ February edition of the AARP Bulletin (print) says,

[T]he vaccine itself doesn’t prevent you from contracting the virus; it simply prepares your body to mount a vigorous defense so that if you do become infected, the resulting illness is far less likely to be life-threatening.

To make the point once again, apparently, the vaccine itself doesn’t prevent a person from spreading the virus. If you are vaccinated, there are strong indications that you can still transmit the disease to others. It is still possible to endanger co-workers, seniors and other vulnerable populations, and children. Hopefully, we will try very hard not to.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “4 people in Oregon test positive for coronavirus after receiving both doses of vaccine,”, 02/12/21
Source: “CDC Issues Welcome Guidance on Quarantining for Vaccinated People,”, 02/11/21
Image by Leah Iacobucci/Public Domain

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FAQs and Media Requests: Click here…

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

Profiles: Kids Struggling with Obesity top bottom

The Book

OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

Food & Health Resources