You’ve gotten the COVID vaccine—or you’re about to. So now what? When does your immunity to COVID kick in?
The short answer is: Not right away. It takes your body a while to build an immune response after the initial injection.
Currently, the two vaccines available in the United States—Pfizer and Moderna—are two-dose vaccines.
You get some immunity after the first dose. But that immunity doesn’t begin to provide some form of protection until after 12 days.
The real benefit comes after the second shot. It takes two weeks AFTER your second dose to build full protection against the virus.
At that point, you have almost zero chance of developing serious illness if you are exposed to COVID.
Pfizer shots are given 21 days apart. And Moderna shots are given 28 days apart. Vaccination sites should sign you up for the second shot BEFORE you leave the clinic after getting your first. If not, make sure you ask to sign up.