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Fauci reinforces WHO's recognition that vaccine may not prevent contraction, spread of virus

The World Health Organization said last week that there is no evidence that the vaccine prevents people from getting the virus and then passing it on.

Updated: January 5, 2021 - 8:15pm

With the possibility of coronavirus vaccine mandates for students, airline travelers and others, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci acknowledges that the shots may not prevent the spread of the infection by those vaccinated.

Fauci's statement in a recent Newsweek interview reinforced statements from the World Health Organization about the uncertainty around whether a vaccine will prevent infection or whether there will still be the possibility that those who receive a shot can still transmit the virus.

Studies suggest that symptoms could be lighter or unnoticeable with the shot, possibly allowing vaccinated individuals to still contract and spread the coronavirus.

"We do not know if the vaccines that prevent clinical disease also prevent infection," Fauci said. "They very well might, but we have not proven that yet. ... That's the reason I keep saying that even though you get vaccinated, we should not eliminate, at all, public health measures like wearing masks because we don't know yet what the effect [of the vaccine] is on transmissibility."

Fauci said in the interview that as chief medical adviser in the Biden administration, there is the possibility of introducing a "COVID-19 vaccine passport" with the vaccination possibly being required in certain communities and businesses. 

WHO chief scientist and pediatrician Dr. Soumya Swaminathan said during a Dec. 28 press conference, "I don't believe we have the evidence on any of the vaccines to be confident that it's going to prevent people from actually getting the infection and therefore being able to pass it on."

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