Researchers know by now the out there COVID-19 vaccines stop individuals from getting COVID round 95% of the time. However the million-dollar query stays: Are individuals much less prone to unfold the sickness after they get the vaccine? In keeping with preliminary information, the chances are good.
“The looming query is, if the one who’s been vaccinated will get contaminated, does that individual have the aptitude to transmit it to a different individual,” Anthony Fauci, MD, the White Home COVID-19 Response Crew’s chief medical adviser, stated throughout a White Home briefing Wednesday. “Some research are pointing in a really favorable route.”
Fauci cited research from Spain and Israel revealed this month, displaying the quantity of viral load — or the quantity of the COVID-19 virus in somebody’s physique — is considerably decrease if somebody will get contaminated after they have been vaccinated, in contrast with individuals who get contaminated and did not have the vaccine. Decrease viral load means a lot decrease possibilities of passing the virus to another person, Fauci says.
“There is a direct correlation with viral load and transmission,” he says. “In different phrases, greater viral load, greater transmissibility; decrease viral load, very low transmissibility.”
Fauci says that Israel has extra thorough information on this than the US as a result of it has given 78 doses per 100 individuals — nicely above the U.S. vaccination charges, which is at present 16.7 doses per 100 individuals.
These early findings will must be proved with extra research, Fauci says.
“That is one other instance of the scientific information beginning to level to the truth that the vaccine is essential not solely to guard individuals from an infection and illness,” Fauci says, “but it surely additionally has crucial implications from a public well being standpoint.”
Individuals who have been vaccinated ought to nonetheless follow social distancing, hand-washing, and, most significantly, mask-wearing, he says. However the information additional highlights how essential the vaccine might be within the efforts to curb the pandemic.
The COVID-19 Response Crew additionally introduced an funding from the federal authorities of $1.6 billion in three areas: testing in colleges and underserved populations, growing genomic sequencing, and making vital testing provides.
Genomic sequencing performs a key function in figuring out new COVID-19 variants. That is how the UK and South African strains — now discovered throughout the US — have been found. The approach analyzes the construction of the virus to identify mutations. The COVID-19 Genomics Consortium has been learning COVID-19’s genetic historical past for practically a yr.
Of the $1.6 billion, $200 million might be invested in sequencing. The CDC will improve its sequencing efforts from 7,000 samples per week to about 25,000 per week.
An extra $650 million will go towards testing in Okay-8 colleges and underserved settings like homeless shelters.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, reported in the course of the briefing that COVID-19 charges are nonetheless dropping — there was a 21% decline in COVID-related hospitalizations over the previous week — however that circumstances are nonetheless greater than they have been over the summer time.
The drop, she says, is just not a results of the vaccinations.
“Solely 5% of individuals have acquired two doses,” she says. “We’re not within the place the place the present stage of vaccination is driving down surge of illness.”
MedRxiv: “Preliminary actual world proof for decrease viral load of people who’ve been vaccinated by BNT162b2.”
The Lancet: “Transmission of COVID-19 in 282 clusters in Catalonia, Spain: a cohort examine.”
Information briefing, White Home COVID-19 Response Crew, Feb. 17, 2021.