Is “shedding” a concern? Can you shed the COVID-19 virus if you get vaccinated?

Question: 

Is “shedding” a concern? Can you shed the COVID-19 virus if you get vaccinated?

Answer: 
Some people wonder whether they can shed the virus as a result of vaccination. In the case of the COVID-19 vaccines, the answer is no.
 
Viral shedding happens when a person is infected with a virus and whole viral particles made during the infection are transmitted in the person’s secretions. For viruses that infect the respiratory tract, these particles are often found in secretions from the nose and mouth, such as saliva (spit) or mucus (phlegm).
 
None of the COVID-19 vaccines used in Canada contain a live virus with the ability to reproduce itself. The mRNA vaccines and adenovirus based vaccines only introduce a single protein from the virus that causes COVID-19 – the spike protein. Whole viral particles are never produced during vaccine processing so there is no virus to be shed. People are not considered to be infected when they are vaccinated because the virus does not replicate in them. Also, the vaccines are processed near the site of injection, so the spike protein produced during processing would not be found in nasal or oral secretions. So, they cannot “shed” the single protein either.
Date last reviewed: 
Monday, Jul 26, 2021