Can you spread COVID after being vaccinated? Here’s the latest

CDC urges Americans who are fully vaccinated to continue to follow virus precautions

FILE - In this Sunday, March 28, 2021 file photo, the Rev. William Schipper, left, pastor of Mary, Queen of the Rosary Parish, celebrates Palm Sunday Mass as parishioners hold palm leaves at the Catholic church in Spencer, Mass. Parishioners wore masks out of concern for the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
FILE - In this Sunday, March 28, 2021 file photo, the Rev. William Schipper, left, pastor of Mary, Queen of the Rosary Parish, celebrates Palm Sunday Mass as parishioners hold palm leaves at the Catholic church in Spencer, Mass. Parishioners wore masks out of concern for the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) (Copyright 2021The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

This is one of the top questions we receive right now as more people get vaccinated.


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Can I still spread the coronavirus after I’m vaccinated?

The CDC reiterates that the COVID-19 vaccines are effective at protecting you from getting seriously sick. But the question is can you still carry and transmit the virus to other people who are not vaccinated?

From the CDC on March 23, 2021:

“We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19. After you’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions in public places like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces until we know more.”

Experts say even if vaccinated people don’t get sick, they might still get infected without showing any symptoms.

“A vaccinated person controls the virus better, so the chances of transmitting will be greatly reduced,” said Dr. Robert Gallo, a virus expert at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, to the AP.

The U.S. is starting a study of college students willing to undergo daily nasal swab testing to see if they do carry the virus after vaccination and, if so, is it less likely they will carry enough to infect another person?

Healthcare workers study suggests even better news

Meanwhile, a recent study from the CDC of vaccinated healthcare workers suggests that the vaccines not only reduce the risk of getting seriously ill with COVID-19, but can prevent catching the virus in the first place.

And that would go a long way in definitively answering our question on whether you can actually transmit the virus after being vaccinated.

If you can’t get infected, you can’t infect anyone else, which means the vaccines can reduce transmission as well as the disease,” Marm Kilpatrick, an infectious diseases researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz, told Science News.

That makes sense, and would be reason for us to celebrate. But right now, because some vaccinated people can still get infected, the CDC and other public health agencies remain cautious and continue to recommend that people who have gotten their shots continue to wear masks in public and take other precautions to avoid spreading the virus.


More from the CDC: When You’ve Been Fully Vaccinated; How to Protect Yourself and Others

More: CDC Real-World Study Confirms Protective Benefits of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines

Q&A with Dr. McGeorge: How long does immunity last after you get the COVID vaccine? Do I need a third dose?


Looking for COVID-19 vaccines in Metro Detroit

We’re gathering information on COVID-19 vaccination efforts across Metro Detroit as more and more people become eligible across the state.

We’re keeping an eye on any updates on appointments, openings, clinics or new vaccination sites in the area.

Track updates here.

Survey: Have you received the COVID vaccine? Share your experience


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About the Author:

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.