Natalie Azar

Why A Second Covid Vaccine Dose Is Necessary, Dr. Natalie Azar

For more on mask shots and some new summer camp rules, you may have missed. In fact, let’s turn to ABC News medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar. So you just heard Tom say that we’re still waiting to hear exactly what these new outdoor mass guidelines will be. But based on what you know about the vaccines, what do you think? I mean, should we take them off even if you’re fully vaccinated?

Natalie Azar:

Yeah. I know. Well, we’re going to hear what they have to say today. I think what we’re going to be hearing. So these are going to be interim public health recommendations for fully vaccinated people. So they’re not really going to be concentrating, I think, on people who have not yet received their vaccine. And it’s going to concentrate on what we can resume and how we can resume it safely. But I think we’re also going to hear that because the CDC really can’t provide specific risk levels for every activity and every community that is also going to advise that we still need to be thinking about our own personal risk. So if you’re a high-risk person, even though you may be allowed to do something without a mask, you may still choose to keep that mask on. And the other thing that I think is important to point out is that you can’t really enforce or really know what someone’s vaccination status is outside. So I think they’re going to be pretty conservative when it comes to baby concerts and sporting events. And those are the first things that come to my mind. I go to an outdoor concert and it’s going to feel like it did pre-pandemic. We’ll see what they have to say.


I thought I want to ask you about something else, because we just heard Tom’s report there. You’ve got more than one hundred million Americans now who’ve gotten at least one shot. Vaccine numbers on the numbers on the decline. You’re down 18 percent herd immunity. We’ve heard so much talk about this concept of herd immunity, folks who’ve already had the virus. When you factor that number in with the number of Americans who’ve got at least one shot, it would seem to a number of folks that we are rapidly approaching herd immunity. No

Natalie Azar:

Yeah. So if you hear with the number that experts are throwing out, if we do include people who’ve had past infection, we could be getting around 60 percent of people here who are immune. But the caveat there is always this. The number of people who truly have been infected is not really that easy to calculate. We’ve talked about the fact that positive tests probably really underestimate which will be a good thing, the number of people who’ve been infected. But we also don’t know exactly how durable or efficient natural immunity is compared to the vaccine. So that’s why we’ve had this conversation before. When we talk about herd immunity, we really are hanging our hats on that on that total vaccine number. But yes, we absolutely are, including the people who have recovered from natural infection. We just don’t know how robust that immunity is compared to vaccine immunity.


So the CDC releasing new guidelines this weekend for summer camps concerning mass social distancing vaccinations for campers and staff. They seem fairly similar to school guidance. So what’s new in this? Asking for friends who can’t wait to get their kids out of the house and into summer camp? Will these programs really be safe?

Natalie Azar:

So here’s the thing. You know, even last year, a lot of camps actually were able to especially, like sleep away camp. So I have a friend whose kids went to a sleep away camp and the way they ran that thing. Boy, oh, boy. It was very, very successful. And I think that those experts have learned a lot from those experiences. But what I think you’re going to see in these CDC guidelines, as you mentioned, Al, they do very much resemble the guidelines for schools K through 12. That is really strict adherence to mask wearing, really strict adherence to social distancing, which is another issue, of course, with kids outside and everything like that. But what’s new here are vaccination recommendations. Now, of course, it’s for individuals 16 and older, but that will include probably a lot of camp counselors as well as adults, the staff. And I think what’s also different is that you’re going to see testing strategies. So it’s very detailed. I think the take home is that the recommendations are going to be pretty strict. But I think that if they are followed, I think kids and parents can look forward to a reasonably safe and healthy camp experience this summer.


Well, Dr. Natalie, I have to ask about actually getting the vaccine. I find it wild that eight percent of those who got their first fizer during the vaccine missed their second shot. I mean, I just why put yourself through the first one if you’re not going to get the second one? So can you just I know there is some protection after the first one, but why is it so important to get that second dose?

Natalie Azar:

Right. And this is so important because we’ve talked about these reports out a one shot is 80 percent effective. Why do I need to get that second shot? Some people have side effects to the first dose and are really, really scared, understandably, to get the second dose. And this is why you basically want to get the most immune bang. For your buck out of these vaccines and in order to do that, you need that second shot. What happens when you get the second shot? Is that your titer of those neutralizing antibodies, those really powerful antibodies that are so important in fighting off infection, they increase about 10 fold. Additionally, you’re also inducing this really robust cell response, which is that other arm of the immune system that is so important in terms of protecting against variance. So it’s not just about increasing the effectiveness from 80 to 90 percent, because that’s very important, but it’s also about durability and it’s also about protection against variance. And that’s why we want you to go back to that second dose.

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