Answering your COVID questions: ‘If I'm vaccinated, can I still get sick if I live with someone who isn't?'

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Posted at 7:48 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 19:48:09-05

What can happen if some members of a household are vaccinated while others aren’t?

WCPO viewer Patty Brooks said she has health conditions that put her at risk, and she wants to get the vaccine. However, she said her husband and son will not get the vaccine.

"When I get the vaccine, am I protected should they fall victim to Covid? We live in the same house so I am concerned about my health since I am the one who is high risk,” she asked on Facebook.

Dr. Steve Feagins of Mercy Health and Hamilton County Public Health said that could put her more at risk, even after she’s had the vaccine.

“It's kind of like living in a household with a smoker,” he said. “You're not a smoker yourself, but you're at higher risk of the adverse affects of smoking, so you encourage those you live with to take care of themselves and ultimately they're taking care of you, too.”

He said not getting vaccinated is a way for COVID-19 to enter households. Even vaccinated individuals can get sick if they’re in close contact with COVID-19, though the case would be much less severe.

“That's the point of these vaccines," he said. "Whether it's Johnson & Johnson or any of the vaccines, they all show very high, 100%, in terms of preventing death and preventing serious illness. So yes, the point of these vaccines is they can turn a deadly illness into a cold.”

Feagins said even for someone with existing serious illnesses, the vaccine makes COVID-19 infections less serious than they could be without the shot.

WCPO 9 is taking your questions about COVID-19 vaccines and posing them to local health care experts. Email or message @KristynHartmanWCPO on Facebook with your name, neighborhood and question, and you could see an expert answer it on air.