Each week, we answer “frequently asked questions” about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you’d like us to consider for a future post, email us at ‘; // –> with the subject line: “Weekly Coronavirus Questions.”
I just got the first dose of the vaccine. Is it okay for me to smoke? Or should I wait until I have my second dose?
Well, you didn’t specify what you’d be smoking. But actually it doesn’t matter. Smoking, generally – be it marijuana, tobacco or via a vape – has not been known to interfere directly with the efficacy of the vaccine. So that would not be your main concern.
But that’s not an endorsement of smoking. In fact, studies have outlined an association between smoking and worse outcomes from COVID-19, note Harvard Medical School physician Abraar Karan and Sonali Advani, an assistant professor of medicine at Duke University.
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Because of that extra vulnerability, Advani adds, “Smokers should get the COVID vaccine when available to them.” Indeed, some states, Illinois for instance, have placed smokers in a top priority group for scheduling vaccines.
Is the first dose different from the second?
The short answer is no. For the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the chemical content is identical and so is the dosage, says Sonali Advani, an assistant professor of medicine at Duke University. But each dose does play a slightly different function in protecting your body from COVID-19.
“The first dose serves as the primer,” Advani explains – kicking off your body’s initial immune response to the virus. Because your body isn’t experienced in dealing with the COVID virus antigens, “the second serves as a booster of your immune response,” Advani says, ensuring that your immune