Dr. Richard Besser, the former acting director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recently told the “Today” show that it’s still unclear if people can transmit COVID-19 to others after they’ve been vaccinated.
Besser said the U.S. is closer to getting that answer, but it will take time.
- “We are much closer to getting an answer,” he said. “One of the outstanding questions, though, has to do with some of these variants that are out there, and whether the vaccines will be as effective for that.”
The coronavirus variants have caused concern from experts for months, as they threaten the vaccines we use right now to protect ourselves.
Experts have been suggesting for months that people who have been vaccinated should still wear masks and adhere to public health guidelines. Back in February, Dr. Anthony Fauci said masks are still necessary for those who have been fully vaccinated, as I wrote about for the Deseret News.
- “Currently, we do not have enough data to be able to say with confidence that the vaccines can prevent transmission. So even if vaccinated, you may still be able to spread the virus to vulnerable people. Masks are vital until we learn more & significantly reduce infections,” he said in a tweet for the White House COVID-19 Response Team account.
- “We are still learning about this new virus. Right now, the virus evolves as it circulates unchecked through the global population. We don’t know what will happen once we reach a level of herd immunity, but vaccines may need to be updated periodically as the virus evolves,” he said in a tweet for the White House COVID-19 Response Team account.
So what do vaccines do?
Vaccines — in large part — work to stop severe symptoms and illness of COVID-19. But it’s unclear how long immunity lasts or if it prevents people from spreading the virus.
That said, one study found that the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine — which does not have approval in the U.S. — slows the transmission of the coronavirus, as I wrote for the Deseret News.