NEW YORK – Can I still spread the coronavirus after vaccination?
It is possible. Experts say the risk is small, but are still investigating how well the shots attenuate the spread of the virus.
The current vaccines are highly effective in preventing people with COVID-19 from getting seriously ill.
But even if vaccinated people don’t get sick, they can still get infected without showing any symptoms. Experts believe the vaccine would also make these people less likely to spread the virus.
“A vaccinated person has better control of the virus, so the chances of transmission are greatly reduced,” said Dr. Robert Gallo, a virus expert at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Evidence so far includes: Studies suggesting that people who become infected despite being vaccinated have less coronavirus in their noses than those who have not been vaccinated. That makes it harder to spread.
To clarify the question, the US is starting a study of college students willing to undergo daily nasal swab tests.
Given the uncertainty and the emergence of more contagious variants, experts say that fully vaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks and social distancing in public and when visiting unvaccinated individuals who are at high risk of serious illness if infected.
“We still have to be careful,” said Gallo. “The vaccine is important. But it’s not a panacea that ends the epidemic tomorrow. “
Other factors can also affect the likelihood of a vaccinated person spreading the virus, including community vaccination rates and whether there is a sustained increase in local cases.
“We’d like to think it’s all or nothing, but it’s very situation specific,” said Dr. Laraine Lynn Washer, an infectious disease expert at the University of Michigan.
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