Hawaii’s Lieutenant Governor, an emergency room physician responsible for the state’s arriving passenger testing program, says to expect the testing requirement for arriving passengers to be lifted this spring for those who have been vaccinated.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green said travelers who get vaccinated for COVID-19 will likely be exempted from quarantine and testing requirements as early as this spring.
“I’ve reached out to the governor with a policy decision that we accept people who are fully vaccinated as an exemption to the Safe Travels program,” said Green.
“This is a massive game changing level of security if we get this done.”
The Seychelles has reduced the hoops tourists have to go through entering the country for those who have been vaccinated. I’ve suggested that there’s evidence that this is a good direction to move in, and that we’ll be seeing more evidence soon.
- The Moderna vaccine showed a reduction in asymptomatic infection not just symptomatic Covid-19.
- An Israeli study of vaccinated people suggests “people who received both doses of the vaccine will most likely not become carriers of the virus and will not spread it further.”
- We’ll be getting data from Pfizer-BioNTech on sterilizing immunity that reduces transmission, not just infection and symptoms, in late January or early February.
To be clear, while we haven’t proven that those who have gotten the vaccine don’t spread the virus, or that they spread it far less than those who haven’t, no one believes it doesn’t have this property we just don’t know for certain the magnitude of the effect yet.
Although no rigorous study has yet analyzed whether vaccinated people can spread the virus, it would be surprising if they did. “If there is an example of a vaccine in widespread clinical use that has this selective effect — prevents disease but not infection — I can’t think of one!” Dr. Paul Sax of Harvard has written in The New England Journal of Medicine. (And, no, exclamation points are not common in medical journals.)
If there’s a worry it’s that mutations of the virus could evade the vaccine. There are reports that the South African mutation has led to reinfection, suggesting that specific antibodies created from earlier strains aren’t effective against it. That’s a strike against antibody treatments, and it suggests that continued mutation of the spike protein might be enough to evade the vaccine as well. That’s why vaccination quickly is so important. Widespread infection means more virus inside of more people in which mutations can occur. Clamping down on infection also limitations virus mutation.
Hawaii is waiting on the CDC’s study showing the vaccine doesn’t just protect the vaccinated but also protects others before pulling the trigger on lifting testing requirements for those who have been vaccinated. Get those shots in arms, people!
(HT: Miles to Memories)