Is one COVID-19 vaccine dose enough to reopen schools?

Local News

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Teachers and education staff across the state will all at least have one dose of the coronavirus vaccine in their arms by March 1.

That was the return date Ohio’s school districts committed to in order to get their staff on the list for the vaccine.

But how much protection is in one dose?

OhioHealth Dr. Joseph Gastaldo said describing what a vaccine does to our immune systems can seem complicated, but said one dose only does half the job.

“When people get one dose, they do get some immunity,” he said. “The immunity is not as strong or robust when compared to the second dose.”

Ohio teachers and staff will all at least have on dose before March 1. Only staff that were vaccinated during the first week of the four-week rollout will have both doses before that date.

Gastaldo said the second dose is key.

“Stimulation of memory cells to give you an immune response that lasts for a longer period of time,” he said, describing the importance of the second dose.

Resident Ellie Rumme said one dose is enough to reopen schools on March 1.

“I mean, obviously, everybody wants the vaccine and everybody wants to get it as soon as possible, but I think they’re doing a good job at prioritizing people,” she said.

Michelle Kerr, on the other hand, believes it should wait until people have both doses, but is happy to see teachers getting their shots now.

“Definitely, I do have grandkids and yeah, so all my kids are out, they’re older, but I’m happy for my grandkids,” Kerr said.

Gov. Mike DeWine’s office previously said there aren’t enough doses to do all teachers and staff in one week. The school vaccination schedules are based on logistics, like who was ready to go first.

Gastaldo said after each shot, it does take time for the immunity to set in. It can take between 7 to 10 days after the first dose, and 10 to 14 days after the second.

“When I see the public being vaccinated, when I see teachers being vaccinated, I feel very grateful,” he said. “I’m very happy to be living in a world where we can get a safe and effective vaccine out as quickly as we have.”

Educators and staff in Franklin County are part of the first week of clinics for the first dose and will have their second doses administered the week of Feb. 22.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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