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Can We Breathe Easy After Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine? Holy Cross Biology Professor and Virologist Weighs In

The Wall Street Journal
April 13th, 2021 by 
Ann Sheehy, professor of biology. Photo by Tom Rettig

Ann Sheehy, professor of biology. Photo by Tom Rettig

As the first people to get vaccinated are approaching the four-month post-inoculation mark, there are still some unknowns with respect to just how long we can breathe easy after getting the vaccine. And also, should we be concerned about the new variants? 

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Ann Sheehy, virologist and professor of biology at the College of the Holy Cross, explains what we need to know about getting vaccinated for COVID-19, from side effects to effectiveness against the variants.

According to Sheehy, whose research focuses on the cellular immune response to retroviruses, experiencing post-vaccination side effects is generally a good thing, as it’s a signal that your immune system is at work. 

The opposite is not valid, however. “Just because you don’t feel sick does not mean you didn’t generate a robust immune response,” Sheehy says.

And in regards to the vaccines’ effectiveness on the new variants, Sheehy points out that it’s possible for a variant to reduce a vaccine’s protection, but not entirely eliminate it.

“If someone does get COVID-19 despite being vaccinated, the illness would likely be less severe. The immune system is very clever. The second time you see something, you often do better with it,” says  Sheehy.

To read the article, go to WSJ.com.

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