So far, one thing is clear – the currently available coronavirus vaccines prevent people from getting COVID-19 infection about 95% of the time.
However, one question remains: Are people less likely to spread the illness after they get the vaccine? Preliminary data suggests the odds are good, according to Medscape.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said, “The looming question is; if the person who’s been vaccinated gets infected, does that person have the capability to transmit it to another person. Some studies are pointing in a very favorable direction.”
He referred to Spanish and Israeli studies published this month, which found that the amount of virus in the body is significantly lower if someone gets infected after they’ve been vaccinated. He said lower the viral load, much lower are the chances of passing the virus to someone else.
Dr. Fauci, who is also the White House COVID-19 Response Team’s Chief Medical Adviser, said during a White House briefing Wednesday, “There’s a direct correlation with viral load and transmission. In other words, higher viral load, higher transmissibility; lower viral load, very low transmissibility.”
He also went on to say Israel has more accurate data on this than the United States because the nation in the Middle East has given 78 shots per 100 people, which is well above the American vaccination rate – 16.7 shots per 100 people.
However, the NIAID director said these early findings would need to be proved with more studies.
“This is another example of the scientific data starting to point to the fact that the vaccine is important not only to protect people from infection and disease,” Dr. Fauci said, “but it also has very important implications from a public health standpoint.”
He recommended people, who have been vaccinated, to still practice social distancing, wear a facemask, and wash hands.
Recently, the U.S. COVID-19 Response Team announced an investment of $1.6 billion in three areas – testing in schools and underserved populations, increasing genomic sequencing, and making critical testing supplies, according to Medscape.
During the briefing, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky reported that COVID-19 rates are still dropping, with a 21% decline in hospitalizations over the past week; however, those cases are still higher than they were over the summer. She said the drop in cases is not due to the vaccinations. “Only 5% of people have received two doses,” Dr. Walensky added. “We’re not in the place where the current level of vaccination is driving down surge of disease.”