Nurse tests positive for COVID-19 after 1st round of vaccine, raising warnings to be patient

ATLANTA — There are new concerns over COVID-19 vaccinations after a California nurse tested positive for the virus just days after taking the first dose of the vaccine.

Channel 2′s Audrey Washington spoke with a professor from Georgia State University, who is also a doctor and said that particular nurse could’ve unknowingly had COVID-19 before he got the vaccine.

The professor said, either way, more people need to know that a first dose doesn’t equal immunity.

Washington first spoke with DeKalb County nurse Jed Tiller in December, when he was just days away from getting his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“I’m excited. I mean, apprehensive because it’s brand new,” Tiller said at the time. “I mean, I signed up for it, and I’ll absolutely take it.”

On Monday, Washington learned that Tiller got the second dose of the vaccine and feels fine.

It comes as ABC News confirmed that a California emergency room nurse tested positive for the virus after he got the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.


“The reason people get two vaccines is because the first vaccine primes the body, and the second vaccine boosts the immune response,” said GSU School of Public Health’s Dr. Harry Heiman.

He told Washington that the scenario isn’t totally unexpected and said the nurse could’ve contracted the virus either before or after the first dose.

“It’s possible they were exposed to COVID, contracted it, two days later got the vaccine. And three days later, became symptomatic to the infection,” Heiman said.

Health officials say once vaccinated, patients aren’t immediately protected from the coronavirus.

Doctors say people should still continue to wear masks and stay away from large gatherings and indoor dining.

“The more people that get vaccinated over time, the more we have a chance of turning this pandemic around,” Heiman said. “For the near term, at least the next six months, it’s going to be critical that all us together continue to do those things to keep us from infecting one another.”

Doctors say people should get the second dose after 10-14 days.

Just getting the first dose gives a patient around 50% protection, health officials said. It’s that second dose that gives people 95% protection against the coronavirus.