It’s one of the most common myths about the COVID-19 vaccines – that your chances of getting and transmitting the virus don’t change whether you’re vaccinated or not.
But experts say that’s not true – and there’s growing evidence to back them up.
Editor of the Medical Journal of Australia, Professor Nicholas Talley worked in Penrith for nearly a decade when he was the Foundation Professor for the University of Sydney at Nepean Hospital.
Professor Talley told the Weekender while you can still contract or transmit COVID while vaccinated, research shows it significantly lowers your chances.
“If you are fully vaccinated you have a 50 per cent less chance of catching the virus or getting sick and transmitting the virus which is not perfect, but it certainly reduces the risk,” Professor Talley said.
“If you do get sick from the virus and are fully vaccinated you are 90 per cent less likely to go to hospital or die which is a very good reason to get the vaccine.”
The Imperial-led REACT-1 study in the UK has found that double vaccinated people were three times less likely than unvaccinated people to test positive for the coronavirus.
Other studies overseas are showing similar results.
With some arguing the virus has a high recovery rate, Professor Talley said protection from a vaccine is still highly beneficial.
“If you are not vaccinated you have no armour and are taking your chances because there is still a reasonably good chance of getting severely ill with around one in 100 or one in 200 people who are unvaccinated dying. One in seven are hospitalised and if you get ventilated in ICU and recover, you may never be the same again,” he said.
“Your lungs can be shot then you have approximately a three in 10 chance of long COVID which means symptoms for months, maybe years.”
While there is a minor risk associated with COVID-19 vaccines, Professor Talley said the need for protection against the virus outweighs the risks.
“There have been a handful of cases that have died from vaccination after millions of doses but a one in a million chance is a lot lower than the risk of catching COVID,” he said.
“No matter what you look at or read there is nothing that works like the vaccine and this is a new virus so our immune systems have not been in contact with it before and have no natural protection.”
Professor Talley said Australia needs to strive for 90 per cent vaccination.
“The majority of cases overseas now in hospital are unvaccinated which makes sense because if you vaccinate 80 per cent of the adult population that still leaves 30 to 40 per cent which is a high risk,” he said.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Emily covers general news and politics for the Weekender.