Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Health

More Than Half Of Eligible San Diegans Receive First Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine

A couple sits down to receive their COVID-19 vaccines at the San Marcos West PACE vaccination site, Feb. 10, 2021.
Jacob Aere
A couple sits down to receive their COVID-19 vaccines at the San Marcos West PACE vaccination site, Feb. 10, 2021.

Over half of eligible San Diegans have received at least their first COVID-19 vaccine shot, which begs the question: What does it mean to be fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus?

Dr. Rodney Hood has been at the forefront of the county’s effort to vaccinate San Diegans. He said a small risk for infection by COVID-19 still exists after the vaccination, but that possibility will continue to go down as more people get their shots.

More Than Half Of Eligible San Diegans Receive First Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine
Listen to this story by Jacob Aere.

“It is possible that you can still get exposed and get the COVID infection, but it's usually very mild,” the Tri-Chair with the San Diego County Vaccine Advisory Group said. “And so far, those that have been fully vaccinated have been shown to have no significant hospitalizations and no death.”

VIDEO: More Than Half Of Eligible San Diegans Receive First Dose Of COVID-19 Vaccine

Hood said it’s also important to note that those who’ve gotten the vaccine are far less likely to spread COVID-19 to others even if they have the virus in their system.

“Being vaccinated also markedly decreases the risk of transmitting asymptomatic disease because the viral load is so low. So even if you did get infected, transmitting it becomes much less,” he said.

However, there is concern that as time goes on some COVID-19 variants could evade the current vaccines. Hood said booster shots might be coming in the fall that will provide further protection.

“We now know that the immunity that you get is very good up to 6 months and probably longer, how much longer we don't know. Estimation is 9 to 12 months, so some are speculating that at that period of time a booster shot may be necessary.”

RELATED: Q&A: How 'Long COVID' Is Impacting San Diegans

San Diego County’s current goal is to fully vaccinate 75% of its population to reach herd immunity, which Hood expects to happen by late fall. But if the variants become a problem, he said it might take a higher percentage to reach true herd immunity.