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Munson Minutes: Should I Get a Vaccine if I Can Still Get COVID-19?

Published on May 07, 2021

In this episode of Munson Healthcare’s Munson Minutes, Rebecca addresses a few important vaccine efficacy questions with Joe Santangelo, MD, Munson Healthcare Chief Quality and Safety Officer. Why are some vaccinated individuals still testing positive for COVID-19? Was that expected? And should it matter in your decision to receive a COVID-19 vaccine?

A few key points covered in this short conversation:

  • Vaccines that aren’t showing 100% efficacy should not be cause for alarm.
  • Available COVID-19 vaccines are actually more effective than other vaccines we routinely receive in the United States.
  • All available COVID-19 vaccines do an excellent job of preventing severe forms of the disease.

Why Should I Get a Vaccine if I Can Still Get COVID-19?


Hey there – it’s Rebecca here with the Munson Minutes. Today I’m at Munson Medical Center and I’m talking to Dr. Joe Santangelo, Munson Healthcare’s Chief Quality and Safety Officer and we’re really going to be talking today about vaccines.

Thanks for being with me here today, Dr. Santangelo.

Joe Santangelo, MD, Munson Healthcare Chief Quality and Safety Officer (Dr. Santangelo)

Thanks for having me!



So Dr. Santangelo, we really want to talk about something that’s happening as of late. Around northern Michigan, around the country, and certainly around the world, we’re starting to see people that have been fully vaccinated who are contracting COVID-19.

Can you talk about why that’s happening?

Dr. Santangelo

No vaccine is 100 percent effective.

So more and more people are being vaccinated, and since a small number of people who are vaccinated can still get COVID-19, we’re starting to see those cases now.

The good news is, the vaccines are very effective and prevent COVID-19 in almost everyone. And of the people who are getting COVID-19 after being vaccinated, most are having a much milder course than they would have if they didn’t get vaccinated in the first place.


Is this something that the medical community was aware that could happen? And is this common in all vaccines or is it specific to the COVID-19 vaccines?

Dr. Santangelo

This is common in all vaccines and this is partly why sometimes we have to get boosters for certain vaccines — because they don’t work well over time.

I’m a pediatrician and I’ve given vaccines over my career that are way less than 95 percent effective. That’s what these new COVID-19 vaccines are, and these vaccines are better than lots of the vaccines that I used to give as a pediatrician.

Having said that, because they’re not perfectly effective, we knew that even at 95 percent up to five percent of people could get COVID-19 even after getting the vaccine.


Okay, that makes sense!

So Dr. Santangelo, what if I want to get the vaccine now? How do I tell my friends and family to sign up?

Dr. Santangelo

We’re really lucky that we have lots of vaccine and lots of ways to get it, but sometimes that means it can be confusing to know how to get your vaccine. So if you need help, please feel free to call the Munson Healthcare Ask-a-Nurse line. It’s open from seven in the morning until eleven at night and you can call to get resources for where you can find a vaccine and get answers to other COVID-19 related questions.

We also have lots of resources on our website to help you get connected to a place that’s right for you. 


Thanks again, Dr. Santangelo, this was really helpful information.

Thank you for joining us on the Munson Minutes. We’ll see you next time.

Questions? Ask a Nurse!

Please call our Munson Healthcare Ask-a-Nurse team to discuss any of your COVID-19 vaccine questions. We’re here for you 24 hours a day at 231-935-0951. More FAQs are also available here:

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ