Harvard Study: Vaccinated People May Be Infectious Even After Receiving COVID-19 Vaccine

By getting the COVID-19 vaccine, you will not only reduce the risk of severe complications.

It has been discovered that vaccinated individuals might show a likelihood of spreading the virus to others.

Specifically, vaccinated individuals who contract COVID-19 may spread the virus less easily, according to a study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

They may shed the virus less than unvaccinated individuals who are infected.

Meanwhile, unvaccinated individuals remained contagious for an average of 7.5 days after infection.

By contrast, vaccinated individuals cleared of the infection via vaccine holds an average of 5.5 days.

Despite being just as infectious in the early stages as unvaccinated people, the authors wrote that because vaccinated people have a shorter infectiousness period and they are less likely over time to spread the virus.

The findings support the opinion among health experts that vaccines reduce the spread of COVID-19, though the exact reason for this is unclear.

This summer, when the more contagious delta variant emerged, officials, including those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the reason people with fully immunized immune systems spread the virus easily was that they produced a higher peak viral load — or greater concentration of virus particles — within infected persons.

Harvard’s latest study, however, suggests that notion isn’t true.

The researchers said there were no significant differences in peak viral loads from the various COVID-19 variants, suggesting that the increased transmissibility of the delta strain may not be due to higher virus production.

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“Our work provides the most detailed information to date about how viral concentrations change in the body across the full duration of SARS-CoV-2 infection,” author Stephen Kissler said in a statement.

Approximately 20,000 samples were collected from 173 NBA players and league employees between Nov. 28, 2020, and Aug. 11, 2021, for the study, which was conducted in partnership with the NBA’s occupational health program.

In the samples, there were various strains detected in both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, including the original alpha strain and more recent delta strain.

Even so, the authors stressed that further research is needed, since most of the participants in the study were young, male, and healthy, as such it may not reflect the general population.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that people with positive COVID-19 test isolate themselves for 10 days regardless of vaccination status.

The Officials also urge all adults to receive a booster shot in order to boost their immunity as a result of an increase in breakthrough infections.

During the past few weeks, new cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts have accounted for more than a third of total infections. Although more than 70 percent of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, plus unvaccinated individuals represent a disproportionate number of cases.

As of last week, just 0.05 percent of residents who had received the COVID-19 vaccine had been hospitalized.

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