Should Vaccinated People Be Allowed To Travel Freely?

Some countries have considered opening up their borders to tourists who have been vaccinated. Thailand considered it, but this week its CDC spoke out against the idea. Australia say sit will be required for entry into the country when borders re-open.

The retort we’ve been told over and over is that vaccines protect the person vaccinated, but not those around you – you might still become infected without symptoms and spread the virus. And that is true, but it’s misleading.

  • Vaccines reduce asymptomatic infection in addition to symptomatic infection (at least some of them have been shown to)
  • And asymptomatic infection is less likely among the vaccinated (at least with some vaccines)
  • Asymptomatic individuals aren’t as likely to spread the virus as those who develop symptoms.

There’s a common confusion between pre-symptomatic spread (people who spread the virus before showing symptoms) and asymptomatic spread (spreading the virus by someone who never shows any symptoms). The former is one of the hallmarks of the pandemic, the latter much less common.

We know roughly how protective the vaccines are for the individual vaccination. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines each showed about 95% effectiveness in preventing symptomatic Covid. But that’s not the most important feature. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are nearly 100% effective against severe Covid. The AstraZeneca vaccine reported 100% effectiveness against hospitalization.

The question is how much vaccination reduces transmission. We know that it does. That was even shown in Moderna’s and Pfizer’s Phase 3 trial data. There’s some dispute about how much of a reduction there is. And let’s be clear: no one believes that these vaccines do not reduce transmission. They probably reduce transmission by a lot.

“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.)

An Israeli study studies 102 vaccinated patients and found “that people who received both doses of the vaccine will most likely not become carriers of the virus and will not spread it further.”

Israel is the most vaccinated country on earth and its health system keeps robust data. That makes its real-time vaccination efforts fertile ground for understanding the effects of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that is in widespread use there.

A new study has found a reduction in transmission even after the first dose. Those who test positive for Covid-19 twelve or more days after taking the first dose have a viral load that’s four times lower than those who haven’t been vaccinated at all.

Vaccinated people become far less of a COVID transmission risk even before receiving their second dose, a new “game-changing” Israeli study has concluded.

…The viral load was shown to be reduced fourfold on average for infections occurring 12 to 28 days after the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

…“This is a game-changer to some extent,” he said. “After all, transmissibility after the vaccine has been one of the most important questions we are asking ourselves.”

…Cohen, a Bar Ilan University professor and member of a Health Ministry advisory committee on coronavirus vaccines, said: “This shows that indeed, besides reducing symptoms and hopefully mortality, the vaccine may facilitate reaching some kind of herd immunity, allowing the partial protection of the weak or non-immunized.”

We don’t yet know how much transmission is reduced, especially when the second shot has been added into the mix. We do know based on new data that vaccination with at least some Covid-19 vaccines reduce transmission, though. We’ll soon know if they reduce transmission enough to allow those who have been vaccinated to travel more freely.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. LOL Todd…enjoy your congregating with your “Like minded people” on whatever websites you have found and ignore the news from the the left, right and center who certainly don’t work in tandem. I happen to believe the consensus of 1000’s of scientists and medical researchers from around the world who have dedicated their lives to their work and are far better equipped to make the call on vaccine safety then you, me or your “like minded people”

    I do agree with one observation you made…..about healthy living. It’s an excellent defense against COVID and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone who exercises, eats well and has no major underlining health issues has a lower chance of dying from Covid, probably much lower. That said millions don’t have that benefit for many reasons from Genetics to life circumstances beyond their control. If we are going to throw their needs out because the “healthy” people are concerned about their 401K’s then society has really gone deep into the Q anon rabbit hole.
    Personally I’ll gladly make a few temporary economic sacrifices if it saves thousands of lives.

  2. I get my info right from the experts themselves. Plus we all talk every Thursday with many others throughout the world. We discuss the real science, not the fake news you listen to on mainstream, Q garbage or conspiracy theories so you can try and throw that back to people like me.

    If the world came together and thought as one, the goal to make living on this planet better for all, we would be in a lot better condition. Instead we have wages so out of wack in industries, sports, art, etc..compared to the hard working people who basically serve them. Central Banks and Federal Reserve who are decimating the middle class.

    I don’t care what happens to the financial market for myself as I have already secured my future, but there are millions who depend on it as that is all they have for retirement. They will be wiped out. Their jobs have already been wiped out. Their business is gone due to this global shutdown. All they can do now is sit at home, hope the government will bail them (for maybe a months worth) and try to feed their families. But you don’t give a damm about them. You just want to keep everything locked down and hope that a “vaccine” will take care of it.

    Of course, they have lowered the pcr spin rates in January to bring down the number of “cases”. We will see what will be left of the world when the “vaccine” is proven ineffective.

    I’m off to my Thursday discussion with the real science. Go spook yourself more with your CNN trash.

  3. How is everyone complying???
    We cannot find a way to comply for countries requiring RT-PCR Covid 19 negative testing 1-3 days before arrival. “Most” say we’ll test you, overnight to our lab and in 24-72 hours results will be available (cannot guarantee for travel). In our case we are flying on a Monday (5:30 AM) so the test must be taken NLT the previous Friday. It gets to the lab on Saturday and somewhere between Sunday-Tuesday. Everyone says buy Travel Ins. but why spend $1,000??? to comply.
    We are fully vaccinated (including the extra 2 weeks). Why can’t the “rapid test” comply for fully vaccinated people?
    Please Help,

  4. It’s about time people wake up from this delusion that these vaccinations help and that this supposed pandemic is a natural (and real) health crisis. This 1/2 hr. sheds some light on a far more logical reality. It is an orchestration. Dr. David Martin has impeccable credentials.

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