February 23, 2021
Early this year, the first vaccines have started rolling out, and people are wondering how effective it is at stopping the spread from person to person. More importantly, can a person spread COVID-19 after being vaccinated?
The answer to this question is not as simple as it seems. According to Stanley H. Weiss, M.D., an epidemiology professor, the vaccine will highly diminish the spread, but it is unknown by how much. Clinical trials for the vaccine were based on preventing symptomatic cases and not asymptomatic cases, which are still infectious. Furthermore, more trials would have to be taken to find out if the vaccine prevents asymptomatic cases. Up to 20% of Covid cases are asymptomatic, so it is very important to find out if vaccines are effective at halting the spread of asymptomatic cases.
To further complicate the situation, vaccines are not 100% effective, and patients can still become infected with the virus, although asymptomatic or with less severe symptoms. Even in a patient with a strong response to a vaccine, a virus can still do some replication and shed while the patient is shortly infected. Along with that, according to the CDC, the COVID-19 vaccine takes a few weeks to kick in, and a person with the vaccine can still catch it before the vaccine’s incubation period.
To conclude, you can spread and contract COVID-19 after receiving both doses of the vaccine. However, it does greatly reduce the symptoms and transmission rate compared to a non-vaccinated individual. The CDC still emphasizes protective measures even if you get the virus due to these factors. Continuing to take protective measures like wearing a mask waiting your turn for the vaccine is still the most important measure you can take to end this pandemic lockdown sooner rather than later.