SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Memorial Health is in its first week of providing the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to its team members. One physician is taking the next steps to becoming immune to the coronavirus.

Dr. Stephen Thacker, Memorial Health pediatric infectious disease specialist, received a second and final dose of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine Monday.

“This is really what it takes to get to the other side of the pandemic,” Thacker said. “I’m super excited both for myself and for the community because this means I won’t be a vector to spread it to other people.”

Thacker studies infectious diseases for a living. He says the second dose will boost his resistance to make him virtually unable to get COVID-19.

“It’s a way to generate a very high and protective antibody concentration in your blood in a shorter timeframe,” he said. “That was how the clinical trials were designed where they got to that 95% effectiveness at preventing disease from COVID-19 by having us receive two of those doses.”

He says throughout the 21 days between doses, he experienced little to no side effects.

“For the first one, I had some soreness that lasted about two days and it was gone by day three,” Thacker said. “And that’s been the average experience for most folks. I expect I may have some of that again with the second dose.”

He says even once you’re vaccinated, it’s still important to wear a mask. Memorial Health hasn’t seen a single flu case yet this year due to the high volume of people wearing masks and washing their hands.

Thacker’s message to those still on the fence about getting the vaccine: it’s better than the alternative.

“As a trade-off to not having COVID-19, it’s completely worth it,” Thacker said.

“When your phase comes up and the vaccine is available, that more people would be informed enough and engaged enough to want to pursue vaccination so we can get to the other side of this pandemic in the quickest fashion,” he added.