El Guapo wrote: ↑Mon Jan 11, 2021 8:33 pm
Do we have any early data / indications on whether the vaccines prevent spread as well as preventing illness? My understanding is that the jury has been out on spread, but just wondering whether there's any info at this point, or about when we might know.
Very little info, but as more people are vaccinated, we'll get more information
This uncertainty is a consequence of the extremely rapid vaccine development process. Normally, a vaccine trial would observe recipients of a vaccine for a longer period of time, showing not just whether they became ill, but whether they spread contagion, before a vaccine entered wide use. While it’s likely that the various coronavirus vaccine candidates provide at least some reduction in transmission, it’s simply too soon to know for sure, or to what degree.
According to the FDA, most vaccines that protect from viral illnesses also reduce viral transmission by those who are vaccinated, and there is reason for optimism that the current wave of COVID vaccines will, as well. Most notably, Moderna’s vaccine trial showed some reduction in asymptomatic infections as measured through nasal swabs, which could suggest reduced transmission after vaccination. Dr. Eric Topol of the Scripps Research Translational Institute has described those findings as inconclusive, but promising on the question of post-vaccine transmission.
The next question is will the vaccines reduce transmission for the newly discovered variants that are more easily transmitted? Again, no one knows.
This is also why (even before the variant), the post-vaccinated world isn't going to be like a light switch. We're still going to be wearing masks and ideally engaging in all the risk reducing behaviors until it's clear the vaccines are working. The bigger picture, however, is what global vaccination efforts look like. Until X% of people around the world are vaccinated, the virus will continue to represent a risk for populations that can't vaccinate (like kids) and groups that refuse.