With the number of students receiving vaccines increasing countrywide week by week the dilemma of deciding how we handle COVID-19 going forward is starting to bear its teeth. The decisions we make now ought to be guided by science to minimize risk so we can return to some sense of normalcy.
According to a new research by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, people who are vaccinated do not carry the coronavirus and cannot spread it either.
Rochelle Walensky, director for the CDC, told MSNBC, “Vaccinated people do not carry the virus – they don’t get sick. Not just in clinical trials, but it’s also in real-world data.”
With nearly 142 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine administered through the country, this is good news. The study Walsensky references is the CDC’s first look at the results of the vaccines in a real-world setting. With data collected from 4,000 working class adults in eight different locations the study gives concrete evidence of efficiency with the vaccines. Based on the first doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, participants’ infection rates were lowered by 80%, and the second vaccine lowered infection rates by 90%. When compared to the chance of infection in the CDC clinical trials, which saw infection rates lowered by 95%, the new data suggest we might finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Reaching the light is the challenge we now face. How we move forward is going to determine how quickly we can get back to normal life. The CDC outlines how they believe we should live post-vaccination on their website.
Once someone has been vaccinated the CDC says there is no need to wear a mask indoors around other fully vaccinated people. The website also says vaccinated individuals can gather with unvaccinated people from one other household without a mask as long as no one is at an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Maybe the biggest change in life for post-vaccinated people is freedom of contract tracing. According to the CDC fully vaccinated people do not need to quarantine if they have been around someone with COVID-19 unless they show symptoms.
However, despite the new recommendations, the CDC says even vaccinated individuals should take steps to protect themselves and others as much as possible. In situations where someone is in public, gathering with unvaccinated people from more than one household or visiting someone at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, it is still recommended to maintain a six-feet distance and wear your mask. Large gatherings should still be avoided and both domestic and international travel should be delayed.
Even with all of the new data coming out and vaccines rolling out there is still a lot left to the unknown regarding COVID-19. The CDC is still looking into how well the vaccines work, but with public use just now picking up the data still needs more time to be considered irrefutable. Nonetheless, the CDC still recommends taking precautions until the data proves we are in a space that we have the ability to get rid of all the precautions.
With all of the world eagerly waiting for the pandemic to come to a close it seems the vaccines have become our knight in shining armor. Walensky said of the vaccines, “The authorized vaccines are the key tool that will help bring an end to this devastating pandemic.”
More information regarding COVID-19 and CDC recommendations can be found at www.cdc.gov.