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Sunday, February 5th, 2023

Researchers: Vaccines alone may not control pandemic

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Two Georgetown University infectious disease experts maintain vaccines alone may not be enough to control the COVID-19 pandemic.

Angela L. Rasmussen and Saskia V. Popescu, faculty affiliates of the university’s Center for Global Health Science and Security, noted that protecting against the asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread of the virus, SARS-CoV-2, that causes COVID-19 is key to ending the pandemic.

The findings stem from the researchers’ published work, “SARS-CoV-2 Transmission Without Symptoms”, found in the March 18 journal Science.

“We can’t rely on vaccination alone to control the pandemic,” Rasmussen said. “Vaccines are great for protecting people against disease, but we don’t yet know how well they work to protect against transmission. But just like the vaccines don’t offer a hundred percent protection against getting sick, they also aren’t a hundred percent likely to protect against transmission.”

Additionally, the researchers acknowledge while it is anticipated vaccines will become widely available in America by summer, such is not expected to be the case in the rest of the world.

“Asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission poses a unique challenge for public health and infection prevention mitigation efforts,” Popescu said. “Ultimately, this is something we will need to continuously keep our eye on as we move into the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and a reduction of disease due to vaccinations.”