Answering questions about efficacy of COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine clinical trials designed to determine whether vaccinated people are protected from illness

Answering questions about COVID-19 vaccine's efficacy

DETROIT – If the COVID-19 vaccine works, why would someone still have to wear a mask and social distance after getting it?

They would have to, but not forever. Here’s why. The coronavirus vaccines are injected deep into the muscles and stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies. This appears to be enough protection to keep the vaccinated person from getting ill.

But what’s not clear is whether it’s possible for the virus to bloom in the nose and be sneezed or breathed out to infect others even as antibodies elsewhere in the body have mobilized to prevent the vaccinated person from getting sick.

Read more: Answering questions about COVID-19 vaccine efforts in Michigan

The vaccine clinical trials were designed to determine whether vaccinated people are protected from illness, not to find out whether they could still spread the coronavirus.

Based on studies of flu vaccine and even patients infected with COVID-19, researchers have reason to be hopeful that vaccinated people won’t spread the virus, but more research is needed.

In the meantime, everyone even vaccinated people will need to think of themselves as possible silent spreaders and keep wearing a mask.

Finally, a viewer asked, if the vaccine has to stored at such a cold temperature, how do they get it into a syringe and into your arm without burning the skin?

While we’ve heard a lot about the negative 94 degrees the Pfizer vaccine requires, that is just for storage. The vaccine has to be thawed and brought up to room temperature before it can actually be given.

However, once it’s thawed, it can’t be refrozen.

Coronavirus in Michigan

About the Author:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.