The vaccination drive in India is currently the world's second-largest, both in relation to daily doses being administered as well as total jabs administered. The inoculation of the COVID-19 vaccine does come with certain apprehensions of how it will tackle the virus or is it possible for you to catch the virus or be a transmitter of it.
Experts, to date, have not ruled out the possibility of individuals catching the coronavirus after getting vaccinated. This does not imply that there is something wrong with the way the vaccinations were administered. The simple logic is that vaccination does not work immediately and the body takes up few weeks to build immunity after receiving a vaccine shot. Furthermore, most of the COVID-19 vaccines today require a second shot post the first one in a span of a few weeks to maximize its effectiveness.
COVID-19 vaccinations also do not function retroactively. You might have been tested negative, and eventually could be infected and be unaware while you take the vaccine jab. This pre-existing infection could be out of control and develop completely after you get the shot, as its protection might not be fully enabled by the vaccine at that stage. hence, you might test positive.
Paul Goepfert, a professor with the UAB Division of Infectious Diseases, states that the bottom line is that the vaccine most likely does not prevent the spread of the virus, but tries to shorten the length of time a person sheds virus.
In theory, he explains that the vaccine helps the body develop antibodies to fight off an infection; but in this process occurs the vaccinated person who was exposed to the virus could still be infectious to others, as well as to the flu.
Goepfert commented, “That is still unknown for COVID.” “Animal data suggests that a COVID vaccine decreases the amount of time for viral shedding to four days; but during that time, the animal — or person — would still be infectious.”
The vaccines, thus, might prevent the illness and not the infection as these vaccines are inoculated based on how efficiently they prevent sickness, hospitalization and death due to the virus. Hence, one cannot rule out the fact that a vaccinated person may still continue to transmit the virus and this situation calls for the need to practice social distancing, and mask-wearing despite being vaccinated.
“We only know that the vaccine prevents against getting sick with COVID,” Goepfert said. “We don’t know if it prevents spread. My suspicion is that it will significantly reduce spread although not completely. At least one study is hoping to look at the effect of vaccines on the asymptomatic spread. Until then, we need to wear a mask even if vaccinated.”
He also stated that the vaccine will take effect roughly 14 days after the first dose. It is true that the second dose extends the time period of the efficacy of the vaccination, but it is not stretch the duration for a long period of time. One must also realize that, although the best vaccines have a high efficacy rate, they do not guarantee a hundred percent effectiveness. Thus, a vaccinated person still can catch the infection and might even pass it on to others.
Talking about the immunity provided by COVID-19, Keith Neal, a professor emeritus of epidemiology at the University of Nottingham, says, “In a nutshell, we don't know, because they’re too new."
This is because the COVID-19 vaccines to date have primarily been evaluated on whether they could prevent the symptoms and have not been analyzed on whether they can curb transmission. Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology at Imperial College London says that this kind of evaluation of the vaccine “means that we set our targets kind of pragmatically."
A British study on healthcare workers found that people who had antibodies already when the study began which might be essentially from a first infection, displayed a 17% chance of being infected with the virus for the second time. It was witnessed that around 66% of these cases were asymptomatic, establishing that you probably don't need to show symptoms to be at risk of passing the virus on to others.
"For a virus like this, I almost think that's asking too much of a vaccine," added Altmann. "It's really, really hard to do."