Island Health’s top doctor warns that getting your first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t give you full immunity. 

 Chief medical health officer, Dr. Richard Stanwick, says that’s why we need to continue to follow public health orders, like wearing masks in indoor public spaces, and sticking with our immediate households.

Dr. Richard Stanwick, added that you’re not just getting immunized for yourself, but for your neighbours and society as a whole.

“With the first dose, 92 to 93 percent of people will mount a reasonable antibody response, which, if you acquire any of the disease, it’s a very mild one and you aren’t really able to transmit it.”

He says that the other seven percent of people will always be very susceptible to COVID, even after getting a dose of vaccine.

Dr. Stanwick says if we can get 80 percent of people 12 and older having immunity because of vaccination, it becomes very difficult for the virus to circulate.

“I think the best way to make sure that you’re protected is not relying on your neighbour to get their shot but for you to get your shot, and with that, we will basically try to make it extremely difficult for the virus to find susceptibles.”

As well, Dr. Stanwick says dose two boosts your immunity by an additional two to three percent, so there will always be a segment of the population that can still get COVID.

“For whatever reason, their immune system didn’t respond and so they’re still susceptible to the virus, so that portion of the population will obviously be reduced as we immunize more and more people,” Dr. Stanwick said.

However, he notes even after the first dose, you have to continue to follow public health orders like wearing a mask in indoor public spaces, and sticking to your own household.

The goal, Dr. Stanwick says, is to have every eligible person who wants a vaccine to get their first dose before Canada Day.