TWIN FALLS — The South Central Public Health District has been experiencing an influx of questions from residents about the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine, specifically how people are managing to contract the virus even if they are vaccinated.
“The misconception that we’ve been hearing from people who live in our area is that vaccines are basically a brick wall," said Brianna Bodily, spokesperson for the South Central Public Health District. "That nothing gets through that vaccine, and that’s how it protects you.”
To try and help people understand, health officials are comparing the immune system once you've received a vaccine to training at the gym to get healthier and stronger.
“It trains your immune system. It teaches it what to look for and how to react so that when that virus enters your system, your body can kick it right back out again," said Bodily. "It can kill the virus and get rid of it before you start showing symptoms or before it replicates in your body enough to make you contagious.”
Since the vaccine does not act as a brick wall, people can still contract COVID-19. However, the vaccine serves as a way for your body to fight it off more effectively and have less severe symptoms.
For people who have managed to get COVID-19 and suffer more serious symptoms, there is a chance you might have a compromised immune system. A compromised immune system can range from someone having to take medicine to fight cancer or someone who may have a common cold.
“Another illness, even things like an abundance of stress or a lot of fatigue, all of those things can actually lower your immune system's ability to fight disease," said Bodily. "So, even though it's been trained. Even though it’s been boosted by that vaccine, it’s no longer at 100%.”
Although you can contract COVID-19 and have the chance of suffering from symptoms, health officials say the boost from the vaccine still give you a better chance in fighting off the virus.
They also encourage people that want the vaccine to do so sooner rather than later due to the time it takes to receive both doses.
“Please don’t wait until COVID-19 is rampant in your community to get vaccinated," said Bodily. "It takes time, it takes several weeks. You need two doses, there’s time between those doses and then you need two weeks after that second dose to be fully immunized against COVID-19."