KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It's been three weeks since frontline workers at Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City started receiving Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine. This week, they will get their booster shot, part of the first steps in the effort to end the coronavirus pandemic.
"I got my second dose of the Pfizer COVID vaccine," Dr. Matthew Gratton, associate chief medical officer at Truman Medical Center, said on Monday.
It's another step toward beating the coronavirus.
"I've had a lot of shots over the years, and this felt like any other shot," Gratton said.
With the second shot, Gratton finished the process of getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Each vaccine is different in the amount of time people have to wait to get the booster.
Pfizer has a 21-day wait time between doses, while the waiting period for Moderna is 28 days. The second dose is essential to protecting yourself from the virus.
"They determined that one shot wasn't enough to activate your immune system enough. It requires a second shot and with that second shot, it's approximately 95% effective, which is fantastic," Gratton said.
That's why it's critical that no one misses it.
"When they gave it in this study, between doses and the amount that they were given were all carefully plotted out by by the people who organized the studies. When we talk about the high effective rate of this vaccine, it's based on those studies of people that got second doses," said Dr. Sarah Boyd, infectious disease physician at Saint Luke's Health System. "In that, that time frame that the study had dictated at the beginning. I think when we go outside of that, we don't always know what does that do to our effectiveness or how far can we really push it."
Symptoms could appear after the final dose. Gratton said those likely would last less than 24 hours.
"While the symptoms may be uncomfortable, they are really not that bad," Gratton said.
Doctors also say that just because you get both doses, don't believe you are immune to the virus.
"You still might be able to get the virus and just not be symptomatic," Gratton said. "It's still important for me to wear a mask to protect the people who are around me."