- People should keep wearing masks after getting a COVID-19
vaccine, Dr. Anthony Faucisaid Thursday.
- He said there wasn’t yet enough data to be confident the available vaccines prevent transmission.
- People who received their vaccines in trials are being monitored up to figure this out.
Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday reiterated that people should keep wearing masks after receiving a COVID-19 shot, saying it was not yet certain that the available vaccines stop people from spreading the
“Even if vaccinated, you may still be able to pass on the virus to vulnerable people,” Fauci, the infectious-disease expert who is President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, said in a tweet. “Masks are vital until we learn more and significantly reduce infections.”
Clinical trials show that the two COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the US – one from Moderna and one from Pfizer and BioNTech – are good at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, with full protection coming two weeks after receiving both doses. But we don’t yet know how long protection from a vaccine lasts or how well they prevent people from spreading the virus.
“Follow-up data are being collected from vaccine trial volunteers now,” Fauci said. “If there are significantly fewer asymptomatic infections and a lower level of virus in the noses of vaccine recipients, it would suggest a decreased ability to transmit the virus following vaccination.”
Fauci was referring to the two US-authorized vaccines, but a recent study under review by The Lancet, a leading medical journal, suggested that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford could reduce transmission in people with no symptoms. The study was small, however, and more research is needed.
The single-dose COVID-19 shot from Johnson & Johnson, which could get the green light from the Food and Drug Administration this month, was good at preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 in studies. But again, it’s unclear whether it protects against passing on the virus to others.
Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has also said people should wear two masks to minimize their risk of catching COVID-19.
The US has recorded more than 26.6 million coronavirus cases and more than 485,000 COVID-19 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
So far, roughly 35.2 million COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, with more than 6.9 million people fully immunized with two doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.