Sergeant Jennifer Callender (L) of the Illinois Air National Guard gives Virginia Persha a vaccine against Pfizer Covid-19 at a vaccination center at Triton College in River Grove, Ill. On February 3, 2021.
Kamil Krzaczynski | AFP | Getty Images
The use of life-saving coronavirus vaccines gives hope that life will soon return to a pre-pandemic time when we were not advised to wear a mask almost everywhere.
But even if you're one of the lucky few to have received a Covid-19 shot, it's important to keep wearing face-covering until researchers can see if the vaccines are preventing people from spreading the virus to others who do Are not vaccinated, said White House Health Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Thursday.
"Right now we don't have enough data to say for sure that the vaccines can prevent transmission," Fauci said in a tweet during an online Q&A session. "Even if you are vaccinated, you can still pass the virus on to people at risk."
However, clinical studies of the vaccines have shown that the drugs are highly effective in preventing symptomatic infections in vaccinated individuals. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the only ones in the US to receive an emergency clearance, have been shown to be approximately 95% effective in preventing symptomatic infections in people given two doses week apart .
Johnson & Johnson's vaccine, a single-dose vaccine that hasn't yet received the same federal government approval, reported Friday that its vaccine was 66% overall effective against Covid-19 in clinical trials. While it is lower than the others, it is still above the threshold of around 50% set by the federal government to get an emergency permit.
In addition, the company's drug was 85% effective in preventing people from developing serious Covid-19 four weeks after being shot. J & J's vaccine could be available in March if it meets the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's emergency standards, Fauci said.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, also urged people to accept the vaccine available to them as soon as it is their turn.
The researchers are currently collecting follow-up data from people who have participated in clinical trials to see if the amount of virus they carry in their noses is decreased after vaccination or if there are "significantly fewer" cases of it Individuals with no symptoms about vaccination show the course of their infection.
This would indicate "a decreased ability to transmit the virus after vaccination," Fauci said.
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Masks, combined with other measures such as frequent hand washing and social distancing, have been a critical tool in suppressing the spread of Covid-19, medical experts have claimed.
The virus spreads from person to person through droplets of breath that move through the air when someone speaks, coughs, sneezes, sings, or screams, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Face covering acts as a barrier that can prevent these droplets from spraying on others.
There is now evidence that the masks might also offer the wearer some protection from the virus, the CDC says, although how well it works will likely depend on the type of mask.
It's also important to remember that most Americans haven't been vaccinated yet, said Dr. Joshua Barocas, professor at Boston University School of Medicine. According to the latest data from the CDC, only just under 34 million vaccine doses have been administered to date.
"We don't know who's not vaccinated. We don't wear it like a badge on our coat. We don't wear our immune function, we don't show our risk factors on our shirts," Barocas said during an organized call from the Infectious Diseases Society of America on Wednesday. "We need a layered approach."