Congressional coronavirus cases show that one vaccine dose does not immediately protect against infection

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Even though the vaccines may protect people from showing symptoms, those vaccinated could remain susceptible to infection, which is why officials are urging those who have been recently vaccinated to continue to wear masks and maintain social distance.
WASHINGTON – Three members of Congress contracted the novel coronavirus after sheltering in a crowded room as a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol, testing positive shortly after getting a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

Those positive tests do not mean the vaccines were faulty, experts said, noting that immune protection takes more than a week to kick in. The Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines that are available to Americans require two doses for full protection; a single dose is not as effective as two.

"Early protection against covid-19 may occur from about 12 days after dose one," said Naor Bar-Zeev, an infectious diseases physician and epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. People "should not really consider themselves protected really until after a week or two following Dose 2."

Even though the vaccines may protect people from showing symptoms, those vaccinated could remain susceptible to infection, he said, which is why officials are urging those who have been recently vaccinated to continue to follow public health advice such as washing hands and wearing masks.

"We absolutely have to continue to wear masks and keep our distance, particularly after that first dose – and even after the second dose," said immunologist Nicole Lieberman, a research scientist at the University of Washington.

The Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines are about 95% effective after two doses, according to the companies. Pfizer's vaccine consists of two doses, given two weeks apart, and Moderna's contains two doses given 28 days apart.

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Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J., Bradley Schneider, D-Ill., and Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., tested positive this week. All three of the lawmakers have said they received the first dose of coronavirus vaccine in the days before the riot.

Coleman is a 75-year-old cancer survivor who said last week's trip to the…
The Washington Post, This Story Was Originally Published At Washingtonpost.Com.
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