‘Vaccine does not protect you from getting virus’

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Dr Fong: Vaccine protects a person from getting sick, severe disease, hospitalisation and death

The COVID-19 vaccine does not protect you from getting the virus, says Ministry of Health and Medical Services permanent secretary Dr James Fong.

He said the vaccine only protected a person from getting sick, severe disease, hospitalisation and death.

“It doesn’t protect you from actually getting the virus, there is a reduced chance of getting the virus but it doesn’t mean it goes down to zero,” he said.

“There is some chance that you can get mild symptoms.”

Dr Fong confirmed the soldier in question had his first vaccine jab more than 14 days ago which protected him from severe disease.

“He is just demonstrating that he had the vaccine in the first batch, that’s more than 14 days ago, we are glad that he has been vaccinated because he is protected from severe disease.

“He didn’t even know he was sick, usually if we have a symptom then we come back 48 hours and we start looking for all the contacts.

“In this case, we don’t so, therefore, we have broadened the net in terms of deciding who are the first generation contacts.”

Ministry of Health head of health protection Dr Aalisha Sahu Khan clarified that a person would need to take two doses of the vaccine to get maximum protection.

“To get maximum protection from the vaccine, you need both doses and we give the second dose a maximum of 12 weeks apart so he has not received his second dose yet,” she said.

“None of the vaccines that are there for COVID-19 or no vaccine for any disease is 100 per cent protective.”

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