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Can Vaccinations Prevent COVID Transmission?


         Participants in the CU Boulder study

“We’ve received numerous emails that we’re working through to get them started. It’s been really nice to see because they’re really interested in doing something to help. It’s not so much of, ‘Oh, I get to get the vaccine.’ It’s, ‘We understand what the study is, and we would like to be involved and be part of the solution in the long term,'” DeSouza added.

Chase Willie, a senior at the Boulder campus, was never quite sure how projects like this worked.

“I was telling my Dad, I’ve always wondered who’s a part of these studies, because you hear about them on the news,” Willie said. “I’ve always been like, ‘Who are they talking to?'”

So, when Willie’s girlfriend forwarded him an email about Prevent COVID U, he decided to submit an application. The media design major then attended informational meetings about the study, and it was there he learned that participating could mean waiting to get jabbed until later in the year. But, by that point, he felt like he was part of something important and decided to stay in the trial.

“The study is kind of answering the big question that the whole nation is asking right now with these vaccines,” he said. “Once you’re vaccinated, can you still spread the virus on to other people? I think that’s a question that’s been in the back of my mind, too, and that I’ve been really curious to find out. So even if I wasn’t immediately vaccinated, it would have been really cool to be a part of a study that’s answering that.”

It turned out that Willie was assigned to the earlier group, and received his first Moderna shot last week.

Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, in Baltimore, said the study will benefit everyone.

“The main reason that it’s important is because it will really impact the way public health guidance is issued. We’re already getting [transmission] information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data from health care workers, as well as the real-world data in places like Israel, where they’ve a highly vaccinated population,” Adalja said.

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