Corona vaccination: when am I no longer contagious?

Health Minister Jens Spahn announced freedoms for fully vaccinated people – the vaccination is equivalent to a negative corona test. But how safe are corona vaccinations and rapid tests and when are you no longer contagious after the vaccination?

Both the corona vaccination and the rapid test are intended to minimize the risk of infection. But what exactly does that look like?

Second corona vaccination reduces the risk of infection

The approved  corona vaccines  can protect against severe corona infection and reduce the transmission of the virus.  Despite vaccination, there is still no 100 percent protection against  COVID-19 .

According to experts from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), vaccines can reduce the risk of symptomatic and asymptomatic corona infections. After the first dose of  Vaxzevria  (AstraZeneca) the risk of transmission is reduced by up to 65 percent, after the second dose of BioNTech/Pfizer the risk is reduced by 90 percent.

Initial studies in Israel showed that people who were infected with COVID-19 12 to 28 days after the second corona vaccination had a viral load four times lower than people without a SARS-CoV-2 vaccination. According to the RKI, a reduced viral load can also minimize the risk of infection and the duration of the contagiousness.

Based on the current data, the RKI assumes that vaccinated people have a lower risk of infection and transmission 15 days after the second corona vaccination than people who were quickly tested without symptoms.

Rapid test: Risk of infection higher than after the second vaccination

Corona rapid tests are in focus due to the obligation to test in offices, schools and daycare centers: A negative rapid test is not a 100 percent guarantee that you have not been   infected with corona . People who have not been correctly identified as positive can therefore still transmit the virus.

Rapid antigen tests have a lower sensitivity than a PCR test. The sensitivity shows the virus genes of the infected, but these are not always recognized due to the lower number. A distinction must also be made between people with and without symptoms:

  • In  72 percent  of people  with COVID symptoms  , the infection could be detected using the rapid test. The sensitivity in people with a high viral load is 94 percent.
  •  Despite the virus infection, only  58 percent of people  without symptoms could  be identified. The sensitivity in people with a low viral load also drops to 40.7 percent.

Vaccination and rapid test reduce risk

Although corona vaccination and rapid corona test cannot completely reduce the risk of virus transmission, both methods minimize the risk of transmission and thus make an important contribution to combating the virus.

It is also important to continue wearing FFP2 masks, limiting contacts, taking social distancing seriously and adhering to AHA rules.


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