ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Research shows most people who get vaccinated will not get sick from COVID-19. As more people get the shot, the next big question is: Can they still transmit the virus to others?
It is a question that researchers around the world are trying to answer. Preliminary data shows some promising signs, but it is early and there are still a lot of unknowns. That is why experts are telling people who have been vaccinated to continue wearing masks and social distance.
“While the vaccine does offer a layer of protection, it’s critical we all continue following all of the other prevention measures,” said Presbyterian Healthcare Services Medical Director Dr. Denise Gonzales during a news conference last week.
A new paper published this month analyzing phase III clinical trials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine showed the potential for the vaccine to reduce asymptomatic transmission of the coronavirus. Similarly, data from the Moderna trial also may suggest the vaccine can prevent two-thirds of asymptomatic cases after one shot.
Finally, the Sheba Medical Center in Israel did a small study on the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of the study said the findings suggest people who get the vaccine avoid becoming carriers of the virus. However, that study involved a small sample size, and the research is not published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Ultimately, there is still a lot more research that needs to be done to really know the answer. Regardless, we do know vaccines are making a difference in COVID-19 cases dropping here in New Mexico.
“We’ve seen a 16 percent decrease in cases as the result of the vaccine alone,” Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase said last week, citing data from Los Alamos National Laboratory. “Note that those lines get further and further apart, which means as time goes on and we vaccinate more people, the vaccination itself has more and more and more effect.”
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance, saying people who are fully vaccinated do not have to quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19. In explaining the decision, the CDC stated, “Although the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission from vaccinated persons to others is still uncertain, vaccination has been demonstrated to prevent symptomatic COVID-19; symptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission is thought to have a greater role in transmission than purely asymptomatic transmission.”