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OSU vaccine expert answers frequently asked COVID-19 vaccine questions

During a question and answer session with members of the media, Dr. Gaurav Sahay stressed that the effectiveness of the vaccines has been well-proven.

PORTLAND, Ore. — As the COVID-19 vaccine slowly rolls out, there are still questions about them. Like, how effective is a vaccination? How long do they last? And once you get the shots, are you still able to transmit the virus to others?

"The good news is that they're very effective and I need to say that again and again," said Dr. Gaurav Sahay, an expert on vaccine development at Oregon State University. "I will be happy to say that because these are 95% effective."

During a question and answer session with members of the media, Sahay stressed that the effectiveness of the vaccines has been well-proven.

But he also acknowledges that there are still some questions surrounding them. One of those questions is how long the two-shot vaccinations will last.

"What I'm learning is that Moderna is saying that this will last for at least a year," he said. 

However, because these are new vaccines, researchers will have to wait for definitive answers.

"What we're seeing with the data is that the antibody levels are still high after a couple of months...so it looks like a positive sign," he said. "But we'll have to wait and see how long they last."

Another question: Even if you get the vaccine, can you still spread the virus to others?

Sahay said that would only happen if you got the vaccine but still contracted the virus, which according to studies, happens in only about 5% of cases. But the doctor stressed that even then, it's not yet known if an infected, yet vaccinated person can spread the virus.  

"The people who might end up getting the virus even after getting a vaccination... whether the spread stops there as well... that part we don't know, but the majority of the people getting it are not getting infected and that is how we are boxing in the virus," he said.

Sahay expects more vaccines will be introduced in the coming months and we should all roll up our sleeves to get them.

"At the end of the day we need people to get vaccinated 70-80% to get that herd immunity," he said.