The experts wonder whether they should test vaccinated people for COVID-19 with the rampant spread of deadly delta variants even as more and more Americans are getting vaccinated.
Should Vaccinated People Be Tested For COVID-19 In The Wake Of Delta Variant Spread?
The United States is experiencing the rapid spread of the Delta coronavirus variant, which has led many experts to question the possibility of vaccinated people taking a test for COVID-19.
However, the health officials say that they have evidence showing that the vaccinated people are not likely to spread the virus. Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, warns everyone to be alert. He adds that it is crucial to ensure that the highly transmissible Delta variant should not successfully elude the vaccine effect.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA has issued current guidance stating that fully vaccinated people can abstain from regular testing.
Dr. Peter Hotez, in an email to CNN on Wednesday, shares his views regarding revisiting the policy of vaccinated people being tested in the wake of Delta variant to determine whether the current guidance holds up.
Additionally, CDC has been reporting data based on ‘breakthrough’ infections that are causing severe disease. And this leads us to understand that scientists and health officials are not aware of the number of vaccinated people roaming freely with mild and asymptomatic infections. This lack of knowledge will make it very difficult to track down the new Delta variant and understand its adverse effect on the vaccine.
Hotez further adds in his email that they need to design studies with an underlying assumption to gain this knowledge. Does the question then arise whether to wait for the studies and suggestions to conclude or reconsider routine testing for vaccinated but asymptomatic individuals? Though it seems undisciplined, he would rather wait for any additional data before retracing his steps.
He points out that mRNA vaccines are highly effective and protective against any severe illness such as Delta, which is undoubtedly a piece of good news.
The Moderna and Pfizer / BioN tech, the manufacturers of mRNA the new vaccine, as well as Johnson and Johnson, have reported enough evidence to show that their vaccines are protective against the new Delta variant B.1.617.2
As the vaccines are considered highly protective, the experts argue that there is no requirement to change any guidance.
In the conversation with CNN on Wednesday, Dr. Paul Offit, director of the reputed Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, told that he still thinks that the pre-test probability of a COVID positive test in those who are already vaccinated but asymptomatic stands a less chance. The chances are so less that one should rather worry about false positives.
Overall, the data of the Delta variant causing COVID-19 cases amongst vaccinated people is challenging to acquire, especially when the patients sought may be asymptomatic. The CDC, as of May, has moved on from monitoring all the breakthrough cases of COVID-19 amongst the vaccinated people to tracking down only those cases resulting in hospitalization or death.
According to the Israel Ministry of Health statement, as of June 6, the vaccine has provided 64% protection against all infections, including mild disease and asymptomatic infection. There has been a drop to 93% effectiveness to prevent severe illness and hospitalization.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the reputed US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases, asked for more data on the findings of Israel before deciding upon the fact that the Delta will dodge any protection offered by the vaccines.
Kevin Litten, who is a spokesperson for the Louisiana Department of Health in an email to CNN, states that they expect to see more cases amongst unvaccinated individuals as this has been the case in Louisiana with the spread of Delta in areas with low vaccination.