Thousands of COVID-19 vaccines are administered every day across almost two dozen sites in San Diego County. Officials say nearly 400,000 people have received their first shot so far, roughly about 13.5% of the county.
And, about 71,000 people have completed both doses of the vaccine already, meaning about 2.4% of the local population is fully vaccinated right now.
But what happens after the vaccine? Is this something we may have to do every year like the flu shot?
Dr. Natasha Bhuyan, M.D., Regional Medical Director of One Medical, told NBC 7 we could possibly be seeing a booster shot each year if there isn’t herd immunity.
“If the virus continues to be widespread, there’s a potential it could mutate very rapidly," she explained. "And there’s certainly a potential that it could mutate against the vaccine, itself. In that case, we will need annual doses of the vaccine, but there might actually need to be tweaks to the vaccines themselves, just like with the flu vaccine."
Another question some may have -- if they’ve had COVID-19, should they still get a vaccine?
Dr. Bhuyan said yes.
At this point, we really don’t know how long immunity from a COVID-19 infection lasts. It’s also unclear whether vaccination or infection produces the strongest immunity.
As health professionals have said, it's crucial to still take safety precautions even after getting the first and second vaccine shot.
Bhuyan added, “after people get the first dose of the vaccine, we tell them to live their lives as if they have not been vaccinated. Continue to wear a mask, continue to practice physical distancing. You could still potentially catch COVID during this time.”
It’s also important to note that even after the second vaccine shot, it still takes some time to have close to immunity.
“Truly, to meet the 95 percent threshold of immunity, that happens about 10 to 14 days after the second dose of the vaccine,” she said.