Mass vaccination may slow the COVID-19 pandemic by protecting people who have received the shot(s). This may also lower the chances of vaccinated people spreading COVID-19 to unvaccinated people. Researchers from Israel looked at the impact of vaccination on rates of COVID-19 in youth under 16 years who have not been vaccinated.
Vaccines work; but what happens to unvaccinated people?
This is an important question. For example, once people receive the vaccine, they are less likely to quarantine after contact with someone with the virus. They are also less likely to social distance. It is unclear whether, overall, vaccination reduces spread of the virus. We know that vaccination both protects vaccinated people and provides some protection to unvaccinated people, including children and people with poor immune response who cannot be vaccinated yet.
Vaccines help beyond protecting against severe COVID-19
Israel vaccinated almost half of their population in 9 weeks starting December 19, 2020. The more people who were vaccinated in the community, the lower the risk of infection in unvaccinated people. This suggests that even for people waiting to have their shots, their risk from COVID-19 is already going down as more people are vaccinated.