Should you fly home to get the vaccine when it’s your turn?

Posted by jeannettepma5 @jeannettepma5, Dec 28, 2020

Driving south and will ‘shelter in place’ in a warmer place. I’m immunocompromised and when Mayo tells me it’s my turn for the vaccine, should I fly home and get the vaccine and fly back south? Does the risk of flying out way the need to receive the vaccine as soon as possible?

Hello @jeannettepma5 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I understand you are looking for advice on traveling back home from where you are spending this winter months in order to get the vaccine when you are able to do so.

I will venture to guess that you are not alone in this decision and many others will be facing the same in the coming weeks and months. Weighing the risk is a very individual decision full of many factors. The CDC released the following travel recommendations that you might find helpful:

-Domestic Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic (12/02/2002)
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html
In addition, I think this is a good example of a question well-suited for your doctor knowing he/she understands your individual health risks most clearly. Have you consulted with your provider? If so, what was the feedback?

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Actually my question is more technical. If the incubation period for COVID is more than one day, if you were exposed to Covid on the trip on the plane to get the vaccine, would not the vaccine begin to work and disarm the virus? So trying to assess risk, flying home to get the vaccine seems to be the safer approach

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@jeannettepma5

Actually my question is more technical. If the incubation period for COVID is more than one day, if you were exposed to Covid on the trip on the plane to get the vaccine, would not the vaccine begin to work and disarm the virus? So trying to assess risk, flying home to get the vaccine seems to be the safer approach

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Hi Jeannette – In answer to your question about whether the vaccine would prevent Covid if you were exposed during travel, then had the shot the next day.

Immunity from a vaccine injection is not instantaneous, therefore the answer would be no. The injection activates production of antibodies which must build up in your system. People with weakened immune systems, or older people usually take longer to form the antibodies than young, healthy individuals. With a typical, single-injection vaccine like the flu shot, protection is considered to begin at about 2 weeks, and be fully active at about a month. The Covid vaccines currently approved for use require 2 injections, 2 – 4 weeks apart, so I would believe you should not count on any protection before a second shot.

My husband and I are having a similar discussion, as are many of our snowbird friends. Other important considerations, no matter how much we dislike snow and cold… The warmest places currently seem to have the highest levels of infection and hospital occupancy rates, and the lowest rates of mandated precautions or people voluntarily taking precautions. This increases risk during day-to-day activities. Large numbers of people traveling from many places to the warmth are potentially bringing the virus along. If they do not self-quarantine upon arrival, that means increased risk of exposure. Just as critical, all these factors can mean decreased availability of medical care for any other accident, injury or illness.

I hope this helps with your decision-making.
Sue

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@amandajro

Hello @jeannettepma5 and welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. I understand you are looking for advice on traveling back home from where you are spending this winter months in order to get the vaccine when you are able to do so.

I will venture to guess that you are not alone in this decision and many others will be facing the same in the coming weeks and months. Weighing the risk is a very individual decision full of many factors. The CDC released the following travel recommendations that you might find helpful:

-Domestic Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic (12/02/2002)
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/travel-during-covid19.html
In addition, I think this is a good example of a question well-suited for your doctor knowing he/she understands your individual health risks most clearly. Have you consulted with your provider? If so, what was the feedback?

Jump to this post

I did not ask my doctor. I like science-based answers and his would be an opinion as a Primary Care. Hoping for an ID doctor response.

REPLY
@sueinmn

Hi Jeannette – In answer to your question about whether the vaccine would prevent Covid if you were exposed during travel, then had the shot the next day.

Immunity from a vaccine injection is not instantaneous, therefore the answer would be no. The injection activates production of antibodies which must build up in your system. People with weakened immune systems, or older people usually take longer to form the antibodies than young, healthy individuals. With a typical, single-injection vaccine like the flu shot, protection is considered to begin at about 2 weeks, and be fully active at about a month. The Covid vaccines currently approved for use require 2 injections, 2 – 4 weeks apart, so I would believe you should not count on any protection before a second shot.

My husband and I are having a similar discussion, as are many of our snowbird friends. Other important considerations, no matter how much we dislike snow and cold… The warmest places currently seem to have the highest levels of infection and hospital occupancy rates, and the lowest rates of mandated precautions or people voluntarily taking precautions. This increases risk during day-to-day activities. Large numbers of people traveling from many places to the warmth are potentially bringing the virus along. If they do not self-quarantine upon arrival, that means increased risk of exposure. Just as critical, all these factors can mean decreased availability of medical care for any other accident, injury or illness.

I hope this helps with your decision-making.
Sue

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Thank you. Some very good points.

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@sueinmn

Hi Jeannette – In answer to your question about whether the vaccine would prevent Covid if you were exposed during travel, then had the shot the next day.

Immunity from a vaccine injection is not instantaneous, therefore the answer would be no. The injection activates production of antibodies which must build up in your system. People with weakened immune systems, or older people usually take longer to form the antibodies than young, healthy individuals. With a typical, single-injection vaccine like the flu shot, protection is considered to begin at about 2 weeks, and be fully active at about a month. The Covid vaccines currently approved for use require 2 injections, 2 – 4 weeks apart, so I would believe you should not count on any protection before a second shot.

My husband and I are having a similar discussion, as are many of our snowbird friends. Other important considerations, no matter how much we dislike snow and cold… The warmest places currently seem to have the highest levels of infection and hospital occupancy rates, and the lowest rates of mandated precautions or people voluntarily taking precautions. This increases risk during day-to-day activities. Large numbers of people traveling from many places to the warmth are potentially bringing the virus along. If they do not self-quarantine upon arrival, that means increased risk of exposure. Just as critical, all these factors can mean decreased availability of medical care for any other accident, injury or illness.

I hope this helps with your decision-making.
Sue

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Agree that different part of our country take the seriousness of the virus differently. We are very serious and have not been in a store since February. We have our groceries delivered as we will in especially in the south. I’ve also evaluated the hospitals and we will travel further then the local hospitals if care is needed.

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@jeannettepma5

I did not ask my doctor. I like science-based answers and his would be an opinion as a Primary Care. Hoping for an ID doctor response.

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@jeannettepma5– Good morning. We are not doctors or scientists. We are patients helping and supporting other patients. I suggest that you seek advice from your PCP. His answers are based on scientific evidence. Your PCP is the right person to go to unless he has disappointed you in the past with untruthful answers. I also urge you to do your own research and ask your PCP about it if you don't understand his answer.

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