We already know that COVID vaccination prevents against infection the vast majority of the time. But as I mentioned briefly on Tuesday, it’s still unclear whether vaccinated individuals can be asymptomatic carriers.
And since there’s still so much misinformation, rumor, and just downright stupidity about the vaccines out there, allow me to tackle that burning question here today: If a person who’s been vaccinated becomes infected with COVID-19, can that person still transmit it to someone else?
Well, let’s look at what the research has to say…
Lightening the viral load
Recent data from Israel suggests that vaccination significantly lowers viral loads—the amount of virus within your body—after infection, compared to unvaccinated people who contract COVID-19.
To examine the vaccine’s effectiveness against transmission rates, study authors looked at positive test results from people over 60 years of age—a group with a 75 percent vaccination rate—versus results from people between the ages of 40 and 60 years (only 25 percent of whom have been vaccinated).
They found that patients over 60 had much smaller viral loads than the younger cohort as of mid-January, which is when most of the older Israeli population had already received their first vaccine dose. Which is very encouraging.
In general, having a lower viral load means you have smaller amounts of the virus in your body—which lowers your chances of passing it along to someone else.
And COVID-19 doesn’t appear to be an exception to this rule. In fact, evidence points to a direct link between viral load and transmission rates, with higher viral loads increasing spread and lower loads slowing it.
Freedom comes with responsibility
These findings are important because, currently, Israel has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. Which means that, ultimately, their data is going to be the most reliable.
If these early results continue to prove out, then you can count it as a huge “win” from a public health standpoint. Because it shows that the vaccine doesn’t just keep recipients out of the hospital by making the virus less lethal…
It also makes recipients less likely to pass their illness to someone else. Which is exactly what onerous measures like lockdowns, public gathering restrictions, and universal masking are designed to do.
And if I may just add my cynical two cents here, this is exactly what people should want, seeing as how so many are too lazy, selfish, or uneducated to change their behaviors for the greater good.
I don’t want to hear the “civil liberties” excuse either—nobody is taking those away from you. With great freedom comes great responsibility. And right now, it’s our responsibility as Americans to do the right thing for the sake of our fellow citizens.
That’s true whether you’ve been vaccinated or not. People who’ve gotten both of their shots should still be social distancing, hand-washing, and most importantly, wearing a mask. But this latest data does prove how essential the vaccine will be in our recovery efforts.
So if you’re still on the fence about whether or not you should get vaccinated, let me make a clear and simple recommendation: Unless you have a known allergy to any of the vaccine ingredients OR have experienced severe allergic reactions from vaccinations before, I urge you to get vaccinated when you are able to do so. (Of course, you should always consult with your healthcare provider if you have any specific questions or concerns.)
We’re all in this together. And together, we’ll get out of it, too.
P.S. I also encourage you to keep your immune health top-of-mind as we fight against COVID-19. Learn more about the steps you can take in my Complete Guide to Year-Round Immunity.
“Fauci: Vaccines May Cut Chance of Passing COVID-19.” WebMD, 02/17/21. (webmd.com/vaccines/covid-19-vaccine/news/20210217/fauci-vaccines-may-cut-chance-of-passing-covid19)