Can I still spread the coronavirus after being vaccinated?
It is possible. Experts believe the risk is low, but are still studying how well the shots numb the spread of the virus.
The current vaccines are very effective in preventing people from becoming seriously ill with COVID-19.
But even if people who are vaccinated do not get sick, they can still become infected without showing symptoms. Experts think that the vaccine could also limit the chances of people spreading the virus.
“A person who has been vaccinated controls the virus better, so the chance of transmission will be significantly reduced,” said Dr. Robert Gallo, a virus expert at the University of Maryland, said.
Among the evidence so far: studies suggesting that people become infected despite vaccination have less coronavirus in the nose than those who have not been vaccinated. This makes it harder to distribute.
In an effort to resolve the question, the U.S. is starting a study of college students willing to test nasal swabs daily.
Given the uncertainty and the arrival of more contagious variants, experts believe that people who are fully vaccinated should continue to wear masks and social distance in public, and if they are visited by people who are not vaccinated, with a high risk of serious diseases if they become infected.
“We still have to be careful,” Gallo said. ‘The vaccine is essential. But it is not a drug that will end the epidemic tomorrow. ”
Other factors can also affect the likelihood of a vaccinated person spreading the virus, including the vaccination rates in the community and whether there is a local increase in cases.
“We want to think that it’s all or nothing, but it’s very situation – specific,” said Dr. Laraine Lynn Washer, an expert in infectious diseases at the University of Michigan, said.
Are some COVID-19 vaccines more effective than others?
It is difficult to see because they have not been directly compared in studies. But experts say the vaccines are similar in importance: to prevent hospitalizations and deaths.
“Fortunately, all of these vaccines seem to protect us from serious diseases,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi of the University of California, San Francisco said, citing study results for five vaccines used around the world, and a sixth still under review.
And evidence from the real world, as millions of people receive the vaccinations, shows that they all work very well.
People may still wonder if one is better than another, as studies conducted before the vaccines were implemented have found different levels of effectiveness. The problem is that they do not offer apple-to-apple comparisons.
Consider the two-dose vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, which are approximately 95% effective in preventing disease. Studies for these shots counted a case of COVID-19 whether it was mild, moderate or severe – and were conducted before worrying mutated versions of the virus began circulating.
Then Johnson and Johnson tested a single dose of vaccine and did not count mild illnesses. J & J’s shot was 66% protective against moderate to severe diseases in a large international study. In the US alone, where fewer variants are distributed, it was 72% effective. More importantly, once the effect of the vaccine kicked into it, it was hospitalized and death prevented.
AstraZeneca’s dual dose vaccine used in many countries has raised questions about the exact degree of efficacy indicated by studies. But experts agree that these shots also protect against the worst results.
Around the world, hospitalizations are taking place in countries where vaccines are underway, including Israel, England and Scotland – no matter what shots are fired. And the U.S. government’s first investigation into actual data among essential workers provided further evidence that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are highly protective – 90% – against infections, regardless of whether there were symptoms.
What is a COVID-19 vaccine passport, and will I need one?
‘Vaccination passports’, or vaccination certificates, are documents showing that you have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or that you have recently been tested negative for the virus. It can help you get to places like stadiums or even countries that want to reopen safely.
The certificates are still being developed, and how and whether they will be used can vary greatly around the world. Experts say they should be available for free and on paper, not just on apps, because not everyone has a smartphone.
In the US, federal officials say there are no plans to make it mandatory in general. In some states, Republican governors have issued orders banning businesses or government agencies from asking people to show proof of vaccination.
Objections mostly revolve around privacy and security – how people’s personal information will be stored – and fairness. Critics say the passports will benefit people and countries with more access to vaccines.
Supporters say they can make reopening faster and easier. Evidence of vaccination or a negative test can be a way for businesses and schools to reassure customers, students and parents that steps are being taken to limit the transmission of the virus.
International travel bans by countries can also be facilitated if people can provide proof that they have been vaccinated. Some countries have long required vaccination against yellow fever.
Yet it is a challenge to create certification systems that work across vaccine providers and businesses. More than a dozen initiatives are underway to develop a credential that can be printed on a smartphone or on paper using a QR code.
The AP answers your questions about the coronavirus in this series. Submit it to: [email protected].