If you have been fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, it does not mean that you cannot get infected. Yes, you hear it right, experts have been reiterating it time and again. So, you still need to worry about contracting Covid-19 even after getting jabbed and take all necessary precautions, like wearing a mask and following other protocols. Along with the rise in Covid variants across the globe, reports of fully vaccinated people testing positive for Covid are coming up. Some people have been diagnosed with what is called a ‘breakthrough infection’.
What is a breakthrough infection
When people get infected after vaccination, scientists call these cases “breakthrough” infections.
COVID-19 vaccines are effective and are a critical tool to bring the pandemic under control. However, no vaccines are 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people. There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who still get sick, are hospitalized, or die from COVID-19.
The CDC defines a vaccine breakthrough infection as one in which a nasal swab can detect the SARS-CoV-2 RNA or protein more than 14 days after a person has completed the full recommended doses of an FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.
Why are Covid breakthrough infection cases on a rise
As the highly transmissible Delta variant spreads across the world, more vaccinated Americans are reporting they have tested positive for Covid-19. Experts believe that the rise in breakthrough cases are apparently due to the deadly Delta and Delta Plus variants which are highly infectious.
Previously, health officials believed that vaccinated people who get breakthrough infections were unlikely to spread the virus. But with the more contagious Delta variant that is now dominant, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said new data shows people who get infected could carry enough virus in their noses and throats to spread it to others.
Breakthrough Covid cases in US
As of July 19, 2021, more than 161 million people in the United States had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. During the same time, CDC received reports from 49 U.S. states and territories of 5,914 patients with COVID-19 vaccine breakthrough infection who were hospitalized or died.
Vaccines trigger a less robust immune response among older people, and the chances of a breakthrough infection get higher with increasing age. Among the breakthrough cases tracked by the CDC, 75% occurred in patients age 65 and older.
Vaccines efficacy against Delta variant
Researchers developed today’s vaccines to ward off earlier strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Since then new variants have emerged, many of which are better at dodging the antibodies produced by the currently authorized vaccines. While existing vaccines are still very effective against these variants, they are less effective than against previous variants. Comparably, clinical trials found the mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna were 94%–95% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 – much more protective than initially hoped.