Ask an Infectious Disease Doctor: How Do We Date and Have Sex When Vaccinated (or Not)?

Share:

One year into lockdown measures in the U.S., life remains radically altered for most people. There have been 526,000 deaths in the U.S. and 2.6 million deaths in the world due to COVID-19. There are also multiple highly effective vaccines against virus. Rollout is slow, uneven, but steadily continues, and with it, the hope of returning to social interaction.

As of this writing, more than 18% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a vaccine. As more people acquire immunity, there are growing questions about what activities are safe for vaccinated people, how they might interact with each other and with the mostly unvaccinated larger public.

On March 9, the CDC released interim guidelines for individuals who are fully vaccinated. The major concern has been that while we know clinical trials have demonstrated that the vaccines are very effective at reducing illness, we did not know whether the vaccines reduce transmission to others.

Preliminary data suggests that the vaccines do indeed reduce the risk of passing the virus onto others. However, there’s still some uncertainty about whether it reduces it enough to prevent meaningful transmission, especially if there are additional surges (likely) with high levels of circulating virus. There is also still some concern that while the vaccines are effective against several new viral variants, that may not be the case for all variants.