Yes, You Can Get Covid Between Vaccine Doses

We could see the finish line — and then we hit a speed bump.

Laura Todd Carns
4 min readMay 2, 2021


It’s hard to measure exactly when the pandemic started. Or rather, when it started to impact our daily lives, and when its grave potential began to hit home. But for me, as for many Americans, March 13, 2020 was the Last Normal Day. It was the last day my children went to in-person, normal school — unmasked! on the school bus! sitting in crowded classrooms and cafeterias!

So it was a little over a year later when, on April 7, 2021, my husband, my teenage daughter, and I all got our first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. And we each breathed sighs of relief, thinking that the future, and our post-pandemic freedom, were right around the corner.

It had been a long year. Our family had weathered the pandemic remarkably well, all told. We were fortunate to be able to work from home, to be able to socially distance. Like everyone, we established new routines, new rhythms to our day-to-day existence.

Over time, our rules and household protocols shifted, both with changing scientific guidance, and with our own levels of fatigue and frustration. We tried to strike a balance that wasn’t cavalier but still respected our mental health and need for connection.

Sometimes we felt insane for how little we were allowing ourselves to do. When we ventured out a little further, that felt insane too. We were constantly trying to navigate a set of impossible choices. By the beginning of April, 2021, we were crawling towards the finish line, exhausted and overwhelmed by the cumulative stress of thousands of small decisions that each felt like they could have devastating consequences.

So that first shot of vaccine felt like freedom. Freedom from our isolated, always-home life, but also freedom from those thousands of decisions. Soon we’d be living the life of the fully vaccinated, able to accept an outdoor dining invitation or purchase a plane ticket without the excruciating scientific and moral calculus. We were gleeful about our sore arms, grateful beyond reckoning for the ache that represented the beginning of the end.

Two weeks later, my teenage daughter complained of a sore throat. “The pollen is sky…



Laura Todd Carns

Freelancer & fictioneer. Contributor to Medium pubs Human Parts, GEN, Curious; bylines elsewhere in WaPo, Quartz, EL, The Lily & more.

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