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What's more effective in stopping the spread of COVID-19? Weekly testing or vaccines

Under the federal vaccine mandate, employees at privately-owned businesses can opt to get weekly testing instead of a COVID-19 vaccine. But is it as effective?

TAMPA, Fla. — Under President Joe Biden's recently announced federal vaccine mandate, all federal employees and contracted employees must get their COVID-19 vaccines. For privately-owned businesses with 100 or more employees, vaccines are required, or employees have to get weekly COVID-19 testing. 

For those who choose against the vaccine, is weekly testing as effective in stopping the spread against COVID-19?

We took this to the experts to find out. Dr. Juan Demois is an infectious diseases pediatrician at Johns Hopkins All Children's hospital. He said the short answer: No. 

"In order to have effectiveness in decreasing COVID transmission as good as the vaccine, you'd have to get tested every three days," said Dumois. 

Dumois said that statement is based on a recent research module to predict how often testing needs to take place in order to prevent community spread of COVID-19.

Dumois compared weekly testing to only receiving one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. It helps, but there is still a greater chance of spreading and contracting the virus. It's more effective to get vaccinated than to get tested weekly. 

"Once a week testing is better than nothing," said Dumois. "It can prevent some transmission if people isolate themselves at home as soon as they know they have a positive test."

With weekly testing, Dumois explained how easy it is to still spread the virus. A person could contract COVID one day, have their weekly screening two days later and still test negative. Then as the virus incubates and symptoms start to show, that person could be contagious, infecting others they come into contact with, without knowing it until their next weekly testing.

If you're looking for simple and factual information on COVID-19 vaccines, Dumois recommends checking out the CDC's COVID-19 vaccine information page.

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