Louisville doctor explains vaccine effectiveness after Kentucky auditor gets COVID-19 following first dose

Kentucky State Auditor Mike Harmon announced Aug. 27 that the Kentucky Retirement System and...
Kentucky State Auditor Mike Harmon announced Aug. 27 that the Kentucky Retirement System and teachers Retirement System are not in compliance with a 2017 state law.(Source: Michael Flynn, WAVE 3 News)
Updated: Dec. 30, 2020 at 11:31 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Just a day after he received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Kentucky Auditor Mike Harmon tested positive for the virus.

In a statement, Harmon said he still had “full faith in the vaccine itself” and the need for as many people to be vaccinated as quickly as possible. He claims to have been unknowingly exposed to the virus and infected either before or after receiving his first dose Monday.

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Following Harmon’s announcement, Dr. Joseph Flynn with Norton Healthcare told WAVE 3 News that newly administered vaccines may not provide much protection as efficacy takes time.

“When you get your shot, the next day you’re not immune,” he said. “So everyone needs to know that right now.”

Analysis from the FDA as well as data published by Pfizer and Moderna show that just one dose of either company’s vaccine could be 50 percent to 80 percent effective, but that immunity doesn’t happen immediately. In clinical trials, efficacy rates close to 80 percent were only reported two weeks after the first doses were administered.

Flynn explains that it would still take a second shot to surpass the 90 percent efficacy reported by both drugmakers. Even after the booster shot, reaching near-full immunity could take seven days or more.

“And then as you get your booster, it boosts your immunity further, and about seven to 10 days after that, it’s felt you have your maximal immunity then,” Flynn said. “And on top of that, even once you’re protected, there’s still a feeling that you can carry the virus for a shorter amount of time and spread it.”

Flynn echoed Harmon’s message that the vaccine is effective but stressed that even those who are vaccinated should still follow safety precautions.

“This is why it’s vital to still wear your mask, wash your hands and social distance even after you just got your vaccine because you are not protected for a little bit of time,” he said.

Flynn clarified that people will not get COVID-19 from the vaccines currently approved because they don’t contain the virus; they use messenger RNA to teach your body to fight infection.

Copyright 2020 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.