I’ll start off by saying this is a valid, respectable question.
I say that because I also believe it is being spun and promoted as an anti-vax sentiment. “I’m not getting it, and neither should you, because it doesn’t stop transmission.” Or, “Why bother with the vaccine if it doesn’t stop transmission.”
That sounds A LOT like the anti-mask nonsense we’ve heard…
Vaccination will teach your body to identify and fight a specific invader. Period.
You are NOT putting a force field around your body.
That means that if someone sneezes in your eyes and they have rampant COVID, COVID is gonna COVID and start to lay down roots. Your body, though, will have a MUCH easier time fighting it and quickly.
This means, again, if you get sneezed on, you can get sick. But it will often be mild, and almost rarely require hospitalization (especially in the case of the COVID vaccines).
READY? If you have COVID that your body is fighting off, despite being vaccinated, you could THEORETICALLY spread it to other people. THEORETICALLY.
If you then subsequently spit in someone’s mouth or act gross in any way, they could get the COVID that, while small, is being fought by your body.
Do we have data that COVID vaccines will reduce transmission?
Not really, not yet. We don’t need it.
Vaccination protects you from potentially getting sick at all. Vaccination will reduce the severity of infection if you do get sick. Vaccination will most likely prevent you from getting hospitalized.
Vaccination will probably prevent you from dying.
For the people in the back:
VACCINATION IS A SINGLE INTERVENTION IN A MYRIAD OF OTHERS TO REDUCE COVID CASES IN A POPULATION TO A SAFE POINT.
This is why I’ve said, time and again, life will NOT return to normal (meaning we won’t have to wear masks) until probably around Labor Day.
We will get vaccinated to take us out of the equation.
We won’t get so sick we won’t need 28 days of intensive care in the hospital. We won’t have long term organ damage.
We’re going to be FAR LESS LIKELY to spread the virus, because if we were to get exposed, we’d fight it right off.
This is the SAME for someone who has already had COVID.
People who have recovered from COVID have the same situation as someone who gets vaccinated, plus they have the potential damage/harm caused by the virus itself.
They’ll have some antibodies and can fight off the virus faster, but if careless, could still THEORETICALLY be a carrier and transmit it.
So, get your vaccines. Put on your mask. Wash your hands. Social distance. Eventually (in 3-week cycles), cases will drop. And drop more. And drop more. Once the numbers are uber low, the masks will come off.
Just trying to keep it real…
Neal Smoller, PharmD
Owner, Pharmacist, Big Mouth