Experts know and are learning a lot about the coronavirus vaccine, shots that offer many a glimmer of hope as the pandemic continues to rage on and as daily death counts reach all-time highs.
At this point, millions of Americans have received the coronavirus vaccine, which has given experts a clearer picture of the treatment and its impact on large groups of people. But there are still a lot of unknowns, too.
Here are answers to some of the most common vaccine questions right now:
Does the COVID-19 vaccine prevent you from spreading the virus to others who haven’t been vaccinated?
Answer: It is unknown right now.
William Moss, executive director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said we are still waiting on results from ongoing formal studies to determine whether vaccinated people can asymptomatically spread COVID-19 to those who are not vaccinated.
He noted that the end goal of the phase three vaccine trials, which served as the basis for the vaccines’ emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration, was to look at clinical disease, not potential transmission from vaccinated individuals.
“The trials as they were originally designed were not able to address this question,” he said. “What we can say is that it’s highly likely that [the vaccine] reduces the risk of transmission, whether it prevents it completely, that is what we’ll have to see.”
It is known that there is a relationship between the amount of virus in a person and how severe the disease is, Moss said. “And we know that these vaccines can reduce the severity of disease and prevent disease, so it is highly likely that these vaccines also prevent the amount of virus within an individual and thus have an impact on transmission.”
He added that while it is likely that the coronavirus vaccines reduce the risk of transmission, we do not have data to prove that the vaccines completely prevent a...