Can Covid-19 vaccines stop viral transmission?

We’re not sure—but there are promising clues with new results expected in the coming weeks, Nature reports.
 
Initial results suggest some vaccines may reduce infectiousness even if they don’t prevent infection altogether. An AstraZeneca trial found lower viral load—a proxy for infectiousness—in the vaccinated group.
 
But: Scientists still can’t rule out that slowing infections in certain regions are due to other factors like behavioral changes. 
 
“These are among the hardest types of studies to do,” says the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health’s Marc Lipsitch.
 
The Way Forward: Tracking contacts of vaccinated people to see if they are being indirectly shielded from infection.
 
More Vaccine Findings: Pfizer and AstraZeneca shots appeared to reduce the risk of hospitalization by 85% and 94%, respectively, in a population-wide and not yet peer-reviewed study of 5.4 million people in Scotland, AP reports.  
 
Also: In Israel, the Pfizer jab was 98.8% effective at preventing hospitalization or death, and 99.2% effective at preventing serious illness, The Hill reports.

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