NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — It was the moment many have waited for and represented a big step in the pursuit of herd immunity. “We really need to get up to about 80% of adults vaccinated. That’s a very high bar,” said Professor of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Dr. William Schaffner.
He believes Saturday’s mass vaccination event was an opportunity for thousands of Nashvillians to receive a vaccine. “After you get your vaccination it will take two weeks, or perhaps a little bit longer, for your immune system to really build up. It does so gradually, all that protection.”
After getting vaccinated, he said some people may experience side effects like fatigue, a sore arm, and even fever, but those symptoms shouldn’t last more than a day or two. He said it’s evidence your immune system is responding to the vaccine.
Dr. Schaffner added, “remember the vaccines, as good as they are, are not 100% protective. ” That’s one of several reasons he said you should still wear a mask after you’ve been vaccinated. “We just don’t know yet if after we’re vaccinated we can still spread the infection to others even though we feel great. So let the data come in and then we’ll be able to say for sure.”
Dr. Schaffner calls this a period of transition in the battle against the virus and said more shots could be required in the future. “It is possible that with the variant viruses that are out there that we might have to- as we do with the flu shot- get an updated COVID vaccine every year. That wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.”
In the meantime, he encourages everyone to continue wearing masks and social distance as we continue to make progress.
“If we all do this, maybe some time this summer, maybe even by July 4th, we can get close to near normal and certainly by Thanksgiving I hope we’ll all have something to be very thankful for,” he said.