Why those vaccinated must still wear a mask, social distance

Nadine Carroll
·2-min read

As global coronavirus cases surge past 100 million and Australia prepares to start its vaccination program, there are concerns that those who have had the jab could prove to be the next super-spreaders.

If the vaccinated population ignore social distancing and stop wearing masks it could lead to a surge of Covid-19 cases, Harvard University public health student Rushabh Doshi cautioned on KevinMD, a website founded by Dr Kevin Pho.

"With a slower than expected vaccination rollout to the general public, people who are vaccinated and fail to understand that they can still be carriers of the virus pose an immediate threat to the unvaccinated," Mr Doshi wrote Thursday.

A medical worker holding up a Covid-19 vaccination
There are concerns that if the vaccinated population ignore social distancing and mask wearing, we could see a third wave of Covid-19. Source: AAP

It comes as Australia approves the first vaccinations in the country to begin distribution in February, with four million Australians expected to receive the jab before the end of March.

Mr Doshi noted that due to rush to push out the vaccine, it’s still unclear to what extent vaccinated people can spread the virus.

“The Covid-19 vaccinations prevent disease, but we know little about if it prevents reinfection and further viral transmission,” he wrote.

Small window when spread may continue revealed

The student explained the time period the vaccinated body takes to recognise the virus and begin to eliminate it is the period of time when the human host may continue to spread the virus to other humans.

He noted a 33-year-old Hong Kong man who was the first person recorded to become infected with Covid-19 for a second time as an example.

A nurse in the US also tested positive for the virus more than a week after receiving the Pfizer vaccine, according to Reuters.

An elderly person receiving the Covid-19 vaccination
Four million Australians are expected to get the Covid-19 vaccination before the end of March. Source: Getty

The student reiterated although it has been proven that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines effectively prevent serious illness, there have been few studies indicating how they affect viral transmission.

“As winter ends and social behaviour increases in vaccinated and non-vaccinated folk, there will be yet another opportunity for a third surge.

“This time, it may be those who are deemed to be the least susceptible to spreading the virus spearheading the third surge.”

It comes as The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists released advice for pregnant and breast-feeding women to avoid the Covid vaccine.

Australia Day also saw people ignoring social distancing advice as crowds hit the beach to escape the heat and Invasion Day demonstrations were held around the country.

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