That's why masks and spacings are also needed for vaccinated people

That's why masks and spacings are also needed for vaccinated people

Scientists do not yet know how much current vaccines prevent coronavirus infection and reduce its spread. Furthermore, vaccines protect a lot but do not completely eliminate the risk: masks and spacing therefore remain essential

(photo: Aleksandr Zubkov / Getty Images) The anti-Covid vaccines are the best tool we have to get out of the health emergency, but, unfortunately, as far as is known now, they are not the ultimate weapon that will wipe the coronavirus off the face of the Earth. Although there is some evidence that mass vaccination can reduce transmission of the virus, we do not yet have actual evidence that vaccinated individuals cannot unknowingly carry the virus. Without forgetting that vaccines greatly reduce the risk of getting sick, but they do not completely exclude it. For this, health authorities and experts insist, we must all continue to follow containment and mitigation measures: masks and spacing remain necessary.

Protection for oneself

Currently available vaccines provide immunity by stimulating the production of antibodies and memory cells, but, although they are all very effective in preventing severe forms of Covid-19, they do not completely eliminate the risk of getting sick. However, this residual risk can be further reduced by continuing to wear masks and keeping a safe distance from other people.

Protection for others

Continue to comply with containment and mitigation measures even if you are vaccinated it is also an act of responsibility towards the health of others.

Coronavirus is a respiratory pathogen that enters the body mainly from the nasal mucosa and begins to replicate there. People who contract it first develop a local immune response, which also leads to the production of antibodies, with the aim of limiting the spread of the virus to other parts of the body.

Immunity given by vaccines, on the other hand, it develops differently. The vaccines are in fact injected intramuscularly, and subsequently from the injection site the antibodies migrate through the blood into the upper parts of the body. However, scientists still do not know how much the antibodies generated in this way can reach the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract in time to prevent viral replication should the coronavirus attempt infection. If they do not succeed, or if they rarely succeed, the pathogen could establish the infection and replicate in the nasal mucosa: in this case, even if the person (who has been vaccinated) is well and is asymptomatic, a simple sneeze would allow the spread. of the virus in the environment and could potentially infect other people, perhaps not vaccinated.

Studies in progress

Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson have all stated that they are carrying out studies to verify how much its products are able to prevent coronavirus infections. AstraZeneca, for example, is regularly testing vaccinated volunteers to check for the presence of viruses in the nasal mucosa. Pfizer and Moderna, on the other hand, want to test the blood of groups of vaccinated volunteers looking for antibodies against a coronavirus protein other than the spike (the N protein): the presence of these antibodies, in fact, would indicate that people, although vaccinated, have contract the coronavirus infection.

Vaccines of the future

In light of the data available at the moment, however, international experts believe that with current vaccines it is easy to prevent severe forms of Covid-19, more difficult to prevent the other symptomatic forms and much more difficult to prevent infection. For this reason, it will be necessary to work on future generations of anti-Covid vaccines to satisfy this aspect: to stimulate greater local immunity in the respiratory tract. Maybe by changing the mode of administration, for example by adopting a nasal spray.

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