In the almost years-long battle against the new coronavirus, hopes are running out to end the pandemic with the development of COVID-19 vaccines, two of which have already seen emergency approval in the US and have since rolled out across the country – albeit slowly.
Many healthcare professionals and residents and staff at long-term care facilities have received either Pfizer-BioNTech jab, the first to receive emergency approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the one developed by Moderna, the second to receive such approval from the Federal Agency. Several vaccinations must accompany the Trump administration in an effort to speed up efforts and ask states to expand distribution to include people 65 and older and those at high risk for serious illness by releasing other doses reserved for them. who has already received the first shot.
Both vaccines have been shown to be very effective in late-stage clinical trials, and so far Pfizer officials have expressed confidence in the vaccine̵
But as the long-awaited rollout of vaccines continues, there is still an important question: Is it safe to see friends and family after receiving the jab, especially if those friends and family have not yet been vaccinated?
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Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses, where experts expect to see more than 90% efficacy in the prevention of symptomatic coronavirus infection approx. one week after the second dose. But note the keywords there: symptomatic infection.
“We do not yet know about the spread of asymptomatic infection [following vaccination], “Dr. John Whyte, chief physician at health website WebMD, told Fox News via email.” Investigations are currently underway and I suspect we will know in a few months. ”
While both Pfizer and Moderna have said that their vaccines are approx. 95% effective in preventing people from becoming ill with COVID-19 symptoms, there is not much evidence that these jabs will stop asymptomatic infection and transmission, which accounts for more than half of all cases of coronavirus, shows a recent model from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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For Moderna-jab, peer-reviewed phase 3 clinical trial data published in the New England Journal of Medicine just before New Year showed that the vaccine reduced asymptomatic infections by approx. two-thirds.
However, the data set was small, leading researchers to conclude that “the data were not sufficient to assess asymptomatic infection,” although “preliminary exploratory analysis suggests that some degree of prevention may be given after the first dose,” they wrote.
Meanwhile, when we think about spending time with those who live outside of your household, “it’s all about managing risk,” even if you received the vaccine, Whyte said.
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The week after the second dose is your risk of getting [a] symptomatic infection is very low. So if you are wearing a mask – to protect the unvaccinated people you visit – and they are wearing a mask and still trying to [socially] distance, and keep the visit short, I think it’s something you can pursue, ”he said.
But “we cannot completely eliminate the risk,” Whyte warned.
“There is value [in] social interaction, so slowly expanding your bubble after vaccination is a reasonable strategy – ideal with people who are also vaccinated. That’s why we need to vaccinate as many people as possible as soon as possible, “he continued. Even if you are fully vaccinated and someone else does not – wear the mask, physical distance – you can probably take a few short visits and recognize the risk of an unvaccinated still existing. “