COVID-19 Vaccines Effectivity with the Newer Variants
COVID-19 vaccine can reduce infection in humans, be it asymptomatic or otherwise. This may signal that the virus transmission rate could be reduced. Measuring virus transmission reduction is challenging and perhaps the better alternative is to measure the reduction in the infectivity rate. Between mRNA and adenoviral vector vaccines, the former scores better in reducing the transmission. mRNA vaccines produce antibodies that prevent viruses from entering the core-cells and blocking further viral replications. The lesser viral load in the upper and lower respiratory tract, the lesser transmission rates.
Is there any chance of getting infected with COVID-19 even after being vaccinated?
In April, Public Health England published data from its larger study about transmission in vaccinated COVID-19 patients and their household contacts and it stated that reduction in transmission rate is about 42-60%. Another study from Israel, a country which is leading globally for the COVID-19 vaccinations, reported a significant reduction in viral load amongst vaccinated infected people. So, the lesser the viral load, the lesser the transmission. A person can still remain a COVID-19 carrier despite vaccinations. The available vaccines have efficacy ranging from 50-95%, and even the best vaccine is not perfect. People can still have breakthrough infection post vaccination. Not only does the vaccine reduce the severity of disease in vaccinated people, it also reduces the chances of transmission of the virus to others. The chances of viral transmission is decreased by 40-60% post vaccination.
Vaccination for a Larger Cause
Getting vaccinated is not just for the individual’s benefit, but it is also meant to protect people around you who are not vaccinated or are immunocompromised. Even after vaccination, everyone is supposed to wear a mask, wash hands and follow social distancing as before. Post vaccination breakthrough infections can happen but most of them can be asymptomatic and still be spreading the virus to others. Cutting the chain of the transmission is key, newer COVID-19 variants may make the currently available vaccine less effective but not totally ineffective. All the currently available COVID-19 vaccines provide some degree of protection against the newer variants, because of the broad immune response. Even though the currently available vaccines have proven ineffective in newer variants, there’s always a chance to change the composition of the vaccine to make it fight against the newer variants. We must not put off getting vaccinated with the concerns of it being ineffective against the newer variants, because we need to do everything possible to stop the spread of the virus and thereby prevent mutations.
- COVID-19 vaccine guidance from Mayo Clinic, Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine
- COVID-19 Vaccine Health Center, WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/vaccines/covid-19-vaccine/default.htm
- How Safe Is the COVID-19 Vaccine? Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/is-the-coronavirus-vaccine-safe
About Author –
Dr. Chetan Rao Vaddepally , Consultant Pulmonologist, Yashoda Hospitals - Hyderabad
MBBS, M.D(Pulmonary Medicine)