Good news isn’t allowed on most media outlets, let alone great news. But great news is what we have today.
A study conducted by Israel’s largest COVID testing lab finds that those vaccinated for coronavirus are not only better protected against the virus themselves, they are also less likely to transmit COVID to others.
“Positive test results of patients age 60 and over had up to 60 percent smaller viral loads on the test swab than the 40-59 age group, starting in mid-January, when most of Israel’s population age 60-plus had already been vaccinated with at least one dose,” The Times of Israel reports.
In simple terms, the results indicate that if someone who has been vaccinated contracts COVID-19 — practically all asymptomatic— they will carry a lower concentration of the virus in their noses and throats, which are the two primary ways COVID is transmitted. According to Mediaite, experts were uncertain whether the vaccines would both inoculate the individual and protect against further transmission to others:
“One of the unanswered questions about the various coronavirus vaccines is whether they can help prevent you from not just getting sick, but also from transmitting the virus to others. A new study conducted in Israel had some very encouraging results on this topic.”
Prof. Yaniv Erlich, head of the MyHeritage lab, spoke on findings:
“Our result reflects great data, because it gives exactly what we want from a vaccine, namely that it reduces transmission. It shows, to some extent, that this reduces viral load in the nose and throat, which is the main channel for transmission of the virus.”
Ehrlich emphasized that the research is in the early stages and that the 60% reduction in viral load for those 60 and over could drop further once more people in the cohort are vaccinated.
The Israeli lab results apply only to Pfizer-BioNTech, which produces nearly all the vaccines in Israeli. It’s unclear if the data applies to Moderna — the other US-authorized COVID vaccine — as well, though there is reason for hope. Oxford-AstraZeneca recently released a study showing that its vaccine could reduce transmission too.
There are more studies to be done, but Pfizer’s vaccine shows strong indications of not only protecting people from coronavirus but also protecting them from spreading it to others. Undoubtedly, this is another step in overcoming this virus that has ruined far too many lives.
We are moving in the right direction.