This is a question many have asked since breakthrough infections were first reported: can you still spread the virus if you get vaccinated and infected?
The answer is believed to be yes, but Chicago’s top doctor said evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people have a smaller window to spread it.
Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. “So the vaccine doesn’t stop transmission 100%, and it never did,” said Allison Arwady. “But the most important thing that reduces your risk of contracting COVID… is that if you’re not infected with COVID, you can’t spread COVID. And apart from that, if you get vaccinated and you get a breakthrough infection, the potential spread of even COVID is less than in unvaccinated people.”
NBC News reported A new study earlier this month found that people who are fully vaccinated are less likely to spread the virus, even if they are infected; It’s a particularly interesting finding as authorities are investigating the spread of the delta variant and how vaccination can reduce transmission.
The study by British scientists at the University of Oxford reportedly examined the records of around 150,000 contacts followed from around 100,000 coronavirus cases. including those who have been fully or partially vaccinated with Pfizer-BioNTech or people who have not been vaccinated as well as AstraZeneca vaccines. The researchers then looked at how vaccines affected the spread of the virus if a person had an infection with the alpha variant or virus. highly contagious delta variant.
According to HCMResearch conducted prior to the emergence of the delta variant found that people vaccinated with mRNA COVID vaccines who developed a breakthrough infection “generally had a lower viral load” than people who were not vaccinated.
“This observation may indicate decreased infectivity as viral load has been identified as the main driver of transmission,” the agency said.
For the Delta variant, early data showed that vaccinated and unvaccinated persons infected with Delta had similar levels of viral RNA and culturable virus was detected, although some studies showed “a faster decline in viral RNA and culturable virus in fully vaccinated persons.” HCM.
“These findings suggest that the risk of any associated transmission is significantly reduced in vaccinated persons,” the CDC said. “Even for the delta, the evidence suggests that fully vaccinated people infected with delta are contagious for shorter periods of time than unvaccinated people infected with delta.”
While rare, breakthrough infections continue to be reported in Illinois and across the country, but experts note that most people who are fully vaccinated and infected with COVID have mild infections and rarely require hospitalization or die if they show any symptoms.
In Illinois, 2,297 fully vaccinated people have been hospitalized since January with a breakthrough infection that represents 0.032% of the state’s fully vaccinated population. At the same time, 679 people died.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported that more than half of those hospitalized or died had underlying health problems.
Unvaccinated residents are more than twice as likely to contract COVID as fully vaccinated residents, according to data from Chicago.
Arwady said no vaccine can “stop 100% of COVID”, but vaccination and masking remain the most effective prevention tools.
His comments came as health officials discussed the need for booster vaccines for millions of Americans.
Last month, the FDA authorized booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine for older Americans and other groups with a high vulnerability to COVID-19.
This week, a panel of outside experts for the FDA is reviewing data to determine whether it should recommend approval of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson booster doses. It is the first step in a review process that includes approval from both the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leadership.
According to the CDC, an estimated 103 million Americans are fully vaccinated with Pfizer’s formula, 69 million with Moderna, and 15 million with J&J.
The scientists emphasized that all three vaccines used in the USA still provide strong protection against severe illness and deaths from COVID-19. The question now is how quickly and how much the protection against milder infections can diminish.