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Vaccinated Against Covid-19? Unvaccinated People May Increase Risk For Others: Study

The study, published in Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that the risk to vaccinated people was lower when unvaccinated mixed with unvaccinated.

Updated: April 25, 2022 2:49 PM IST

By News Desk | Edited by Sanstuti Nath

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People wearing face masks wait in line outside a mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Zou Zheng/Xinhua)

Toronto: Unvaccinated people risk the safety of those who are vaccinated against coronavirus even when the immunisation rates are high, said a modelling study published on Monday. Researchers from the University of Toronto in Canada explored the effect of mixing unvaccinated and vaccinated people to understand the dynamics of an infectious disease like SARS-CoV-2.

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Study Method

The researchers simulated the mixing of like-with-like populations in which people had exclusive contact with others of the same vaccination status as well as random mixing between different groups. “Many opponents of vaccine mandates have framed vaccine adoption as a matter of individual choice,” said David Fisman, from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

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“However, we found that the choices made by people who forgo vaccination contribute disproportionately to risk among those who do get vaccinated,” Fisman said in a statement.

Study Result

The study, published in Canadian Medical Association Journal, found that the risk to vaccinated people was lower when unvaccinated mixed with unvaccinated. However, when vaccinated and unvaccinated people mixed, a substantial number of new infections would occur in vaccinated people, even in scenarios where immunisation rates were high.

The findings remained stable even when they modelled lower levels of vaccine effectiveness for prevention of infection, such as in those who have not received a booster dose or with new SARS-CoV-2 variants.

How study can help in preventing the spread of COVID-19?

The findings may be relevant to future waves of SARS-CoV-2 or to the behaviour of new variants, according to the researchers. “Risk among unvaccinated people cannot be considered self-regarding. In other words, forgoing vaccination can’t be considered to affect only the unvaccinated, but also those around them,” the authors of the study noted.

“Considerations around equity and justice for people who do choose to be vaccinated, as well as those who choose not to be, need to be considered in the formulation of vaccination policy,” they said.

The researchers noted that the anti-vaccine sentiment, fuelled in part by organised disinformation efforts, has resulted in suboptimal uptake of readily available vaccines in many countries, with adverse health and economic consequences.

Although the decision not to receive vaccination is often framed in terms of the rights of individuals to opt out, such arguments neglect the potential harms to the wider community that derive from poor vaccine uptake, they added.

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Published Date: April 25, 2022 2:48 PM IST

Updated Date: April 25, 2022 2:49 PM IST