- Josh Mugele, an emergency physician in Georgia, tested positive for the new coronavirus on Tuesday.
- Mugele received his first dose of Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine nine days earlier.
- Mugele’s COVID-19 infection is not a sign that the shot is not working.
- The vaccine requires two shots to be fully effective. It can also take up to a few weeks for vaccines to develop immunity, so it’s important to keep wearing masks and keep social distance after you get the shots.
- “It was just dumb luck,” Mugele said. “I happened to be exposed within a few days of getting the vaccine, but it’s still the best tool to fight the virus.”
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Josh Mugele worked Christmas in the night shift. Although he has been prone to coronavirus patients since the onset of the pandemic, his hospital in Georgia has been expanded like never before. However, there was one small consolation: On December 20, Mugele received the first dose of Pfizer and BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine.
“I had three shifts in a row until the vaccination date,” Mugele, an emergency physician at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, Georgia, told Business Insider. ‘I was just nervous and I was exposed to it before. I honestly felt a sense of relief when I was able to get the vaccine on the twentieth, and I thought I would cross the finish line. . “
Then he came down Monday with a headache and a cough. The next day he tested positive for the coronavirus.
“I was scared at first, but more than anything I think I was angry,” Mugele said. “I had as much exposure as any ER doctor in the country, and I was spared for ten months, and it’s just stupid and frustrating to get it right after I got the vaccination.”
Pfizer vaccine given as two injections 21 days apart
Mugele always knew there was a chance of getting sick after his first dose.
Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine are given as two injections 21 days apart. The two-dose regimen was found to be 95% effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, but a single dose offers much less protection. Therefore, it is essential that vaccines return for a second shot.
Read more: Primary care clinics hope to play a major role in vaccinating Americans, but some do not know when they will receive coronavirus shots. Despite three pieces of information, three large chains explain how they prepare.
It is also unknown whether the vaccine completely prevents the infection, and it may take a few weeks after vaccination before the body develops immunity in the form of antibodies against the virus.
“The first eight days are very important,” Mugele said. “People still need to be absolutely isolated. They need to wear their mask, they need to wash their hands, they need to avoid going out before they get the benefit of the vaccine.”
“It was just dumb luck”
Mugele said he was still planning to receive his second dose on January 12, assuming his symptoms had disappeared about a week earlier. He also stressed that his infection was not a sign of anything wrong with the vaccine.
“It was just dumb luck,” he said. “I happened to be exposed within a few days of getting the vaccine, but it’s still the best tool to fight the virus.”
As a doctor in emergencies, Mugele also had a higher risk of infection than many Americans, especially since his hospital is full of coronavirus patients.
“Our hospital is almost like every other hospital in the country,” he said. “We have higher volumes than we have ever had.”
US vaccine development is slow
The number of U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations has tripled in the past two months, peaking at nearly 125,000 on Tuesday. Mugele said he felt sad that another doctor would have to cover his shift at this critical time.
“The shifts these days are really very difficult,” he said. “We see people in non-ideal conditions, like in the hallway or in the waiting room, so it’s a stressful, stressful work environment. Everyone is already thin.”
While vaccines are still the fastest way to stop the pandemic, vaccination by the US is painfully slow, compared to what federal officials expected. Earlier this month, the Trump administration predicted that 20 million Americans would get a coronavirus by the end of the year. The U.S. has so far shipped about 14 million doses, but only about 2.6 million people received their first injections, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.
“It’s really important that until we have a widespread vaccination rate across the country, even if you have both doses of vaccine, you still have to be careful,” Mugele said. “You still have to wear your mask in public, and you still have to avoid large gatherings, and you still have to wash your hands. We’re still in the throes of this thing.”