You Got the Second Dose of the Covid-19 Vaccine. Now What?

Celebrate your success and keep your mask on

Covid-19 vaccines arrive in American cities, we are moving into a new phase of the pandemic. The vaccination rollout continues to improve, with the U.S. now vaccinating over one million people per day. Though millions still wait in line for vaccination access, 32 million Americans have received one dose, and over 9.5 million have completed the series.

Hope is on the horizon.

But Covid-19 is a novel virus with new vaccines and treatments, so it is not a surprise that many people have questions, especially about what to do after getting vaccinated. My mother, who qualified for vaccination in category 1B, prompted this story the morning after her second vaccine dose when she sent me this text:

Photo: Author’s image

Like millions of senior citizens, my mother is anxious to get out of the house and hug her grandchildren. Many others may be feeling the same way: Senior citizens and those with medical conditions are classified as 1B. Qualifications vary state by state but generally include those greater than 65 years old or with chronic medical conditions.

One important thing for vaccinated people to understand is that immunity does not come immediately after vaccination. It takes time for your body to build up protection. The two mRNA vaccines approved in the U.S. both require two doses. The first shot primes the immune system to produce protective antibodies. The second dose kicks it into high gear.

Here is what we know about post-vaccine immunity with the two Covid-19 vaccines currently available in the U.S.: In phase 3 clinical trials, the Pfizer vaccine showed a 95% efficacy seven days after the second dose. The Moderna vaccine offers 94% immunity at least 14 days after dose number two.

Two weeks after completing the vaccination course, recipients can breathe a sigh of relief. Their risk of severe disease from Covid-19 is very low. But we must remember that the risk is not zero.

The Covid-19 vaccine protects us from getting the disease, but we do not yet know if the vaccine prevents transmission. There is a growing amount of encouraging evidence regarding the protective effect of the vaccine against transmission, but at this moment, we don’t currently know whether a vaccinated person can still transmit the SARS-CoV-2 virus to others.

No vaccine is 100% effective, and according to the current data, 5% of those getting a Covid-19 mRNA vaccine may still be at risk. Vaccine recipients should continue to wash their hands, wear a face mask in public, and practice social distancing.

At your vaccination appointment, you will receive a copy of your vaccination record. Apps and digital documents are coming, but for now, your safest move is to keep the vaccine record in a safe place where it won’t get lost. I recommend taking a picture for storage on your phone.

Here is what it looks like:

Photo: Author’s image

The waitlists for Covid-19 vaccination vary across the country. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide an up-to-date resource to help people find a vaccine hub here. The waitlists are long, even for those who currently qualify. I recommend taking proactive measures and signing up now.

If you are feeling nervous about getting the vaccine, here is what it was like for me. The process was simple, painless, and life-saving.  

If you want to see what getting vaccine looks like, here you go.


Medika Life has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider(s). We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by Medika Life

Dr Jeff Livingston
Dr Jeff Livingston
Jeff is Co-Founder of Medika Life. He is a Board Certified Obgyn and CEO of MacArthur Medical Center in Irving, Texas. He is a nationally recognized thought leader, speaker, writer, blogger, and practicing physician who is considered an expert in the use of social media to educate patients, using new and innovative technology to improve care outcomes and the patient experience.
More from this author