Why do some people believe that COVID vaccines do not prevent transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus?
The usual suspects…
Do COVID Vaccines Prevent Transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 Virus?
Fortunately, COVID vaccines do indeed prevent transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
“COVID-19 vaccination with an mRNA-based vaccine showed a significant association with reduced risk of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection as measured during preprocedural molecular screening. Results of this study demonstrate the impact of the vaccines on reduction in asymptomatic infections supplementing the randomized trial results on symptomatic patients.”Impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccine on Asymptomatic Infection Among Patients Undergoing Preprocedural COVID-19 Molecular Screening
We didn’t know if this would be true when the COVID vaccine were first authorized, but plenty of studies have found that they they do indeed prevent transmission, at least they do the great majority of the time.
“High viral loads suggest an increased risk of transmission and raised concern that, unlike with other variants, vaccinated people infected with Delta can transmit the virus.”Statement from CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH on Today’s MMWR
Lately, there has been some concern that vaccinated folks infected with the Delta variant might be able to transmit the virus to others.
“Unvaccinated people remain the greatest concern: The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to get infected, and therefore transmit the virus. Fully vaccinated people get COVID-19 (known as breakthrough infections) less often than unvaccinated people. People infected with the Delta variant, including fully vaccinated people with symptomatic breakthrough infections, can transmit the virus to others.”Delta Variant: What We Know About the Science
Still, it is still safe to say that COVID vaccines do prevent transmission of the SARS-CoV virus when you consider that:
- you are much less likely to get COVID if you are vaccinated, understanding that breakthrough COVID infections are not common, and
- you are much less likely to transmit the SARS-CoV-2 virus if you don’t get sick, as there is little evidence for much asymptomatic spread in folks who are vaccinated
They may not prevent transmission 100% of the time (which is why we should continue to wear masks and practice social distancing when cases are high), but COVID vaccines are working to protect those who are vaccinated.
“The totality of these impressive data should bolster confidence that the COVID vaccines are extraordinarily effective in reducing transmission of the virus.”The Crucial Vaccine Benefit We’re Not Talking about Enough
COVID vaccines can even protect people who are unvaccinated!
“Overall, the likelihood of household transmission was approximately 40 to 50% lower in households of index patients who had been vaccinated 21 days or more before testing positive than in households of unvaccinated index patients;”Effect of Vaccination on Household Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in England
It’s too bad that we aren’t doing as good a job stopping the transmission of misinformation…
More on COVID Vaccines
- Why You Should Get Vaccinated Even Though You Had COVID
- 7 Things You Need to Know About COVID-19
- The Truth About COVID-19 Vaccines
- I’m Not Anti-Vaccine, I Just Don’t Believe in the COVID-19 Vaccine
- CDC – Delta Variant: What We Know About the Science
- CDC – Statement from CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH on Today’s MMWR
- MMWR – Outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 Infections, Including COVID-19 Vaccine Breakthrough Infections, Associated with Large Public Gatherings — Barnstable County, Massachusetts, July 2021
- Fact Check-CDC director did not confess that vaccines are failing
- Yes, vaccines curb COVID-19 transmission — but that’s not enough to protect those without a shot
- Community-level evidence for SARS-CoV-2 vaccine protection of unvaccinated individuals
- Effect of Vaccination on Household Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in England
- Estimating the extent of asymptomatic COVID-19 and its potential for community transmission: systematic review and meta-analysis
- Impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccine on Asymptomatic Infection Among Patients Undergoing Preprocedural COVID-19 Molecular Screening
- MMWR – Interim Estimates of Vaccine Effectiveness of BNT162b2 and mRNA-1273 COVID-19 Vaccines in Preventing SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Health Care Personnel, First Responders, and Other Essential and Frontline Workers — Eight U.S. Locations, December 2020–March 2021
- The Crucial Vaccine Benefit We’re Not Talking about Enough
- Study ties COVID vaccines to lower transmission rates
- COVID-19: The Unvaccinated Pose a Risk to the Vaccinated
- Fact check: COVID-19 vaccine protects both the person vaccinated and those around them
- Fact-check: CDC didn’t say that vaccinated people ‘can be superspreaders’
- Evidence shows that COVID-19 variants are largely spread among unvaccinated people
- Christian Elliot’s “18 Reasons I Won’t Be Getting a Covid Vaccine”: 18 antivaccine lies
- How We Know That the COVID-19 Vaccines Work
- COVID Vaccines Probably Prevent Spread
- Do face masks decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission?