After just one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, those who become infected with the coronavirus before their second dose still present a much lower transmission risk.
The vaccine appears to lower the viral load four-fold for infections occurring 12 to 28 days after the first of two doses, according to a pre-published study on Feb. 8 supported by the Israel Science Foundation’s KillCorona-Curbing Coronavirus Research Program.
The paper, which has not yet been peer reviewed, was written by scientists from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and Maccabi Research Institute. Their conclusions were based on positive post-vaccination data from Maccabi Healthcare Services, the second largest of Israel’s four national health maintenance organizations.
The new research follows another Israeli study indicating that people over 60 who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 are less likely to transmit the coronavirus to others. Data from two testing labs showed that both vaccination doses reduce the viral load by 1.6 to 20 times in those positive for SARS-CoV-2.
Coupled together, the two studies raise hopes that people who are vaccinated protect not only themselves, but also those around them from developing serious COVID-19 symptoms. This may hasten Israel’s reaching herd immunity, which happens when a sufficient percentage of a population has immunity and gives indirect protection to those who aren’t immunized.
Herd immunity is an important topic in Israel. Although the country has vaccinated more people per capita than any other country, some 30 percent of the population is under 16 years old and therefore cannot be vaccinated for the novel cornavirus.
(Edited by Carlin Becker and David Martosko)
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