Florida representative Vern Buchanan tested positive for Covid-19 after the vaccination, according to a statement from his office on Monday. Fully vaccinated entertainment reporter Catt Sadler has warned her hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers not to ‘let their guard down’ after falling ill after caring for someone with Covid-19 who was not vaccinated. Six New York Yankees players tested positive as of Thursday. This was the second breakthrough case in the team.
Breakthrough cases are also already happening at the Tokyo Summer Olympics. Alternate member of the U.S. Olympic gymnastics team, Kara Eaker, who had been vaccinated, tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday, her father confirmed to CNN affiliate KMBC on Monday. Just like basketball player Katie Lou Samuelson who confirmed on her Instagram account that she could not compete in Tokyo.
The good news is that the number of breakthrough infections can be reduced, but it will take a much larger community effort to protect people from Covid-19.
For Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, full vaccination is done after two doses. For the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, this is a single dose.
Major infections can cause illness with symptoms, and some people may not have any symptoms. Research has shown that if people get infected after vaccination, they usually get a milder case.
No vaccine is perfect
Covid-19 vaccines are highly protective against laboratory-confirmed infections and appear to offer protection against variants; however, a tiny fraction remains infected, as with any other vaccine.
“There is no such thing as a 100% effective vaccine,” said Dr. Amy Edwards, associate medical director of pediatric infection control at UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.
Along with other diseases like mumps or rubella, breakthrough infections are very rare, Edwards said, because so many people have been vaccinated against these diseases, and mumps and rubella have poor circulation.
“The risk that a person who has not responded to the vaccine will come in contact with these diseases is very low,” said Edwards. “The reason we are seeing more breakthrough infections with Covid is that there are so many unvaccinated people. ”
Another example is the flu shot, which reduces the risk of getting sick between 40 and 60 percent, according to studies. Covid-19 vaccines are much more protective – up to 95% effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalizations and death.
Revolutionary infections in figures
We don’t know how many mild or asymptomatic Covid-19 infections there are in the United States. The CDC stopped counting in May.
The CDC still counts hospitalizations and deaths from breakthrough infections. The agency said it made this transition to “help maximize the quality of data collected on cases of greatest clinical and public health importance.”
As of July 12, 5,492 patients with breakthrough infections from the Covid-19 vaccine have been hospitalized or have died, according to the CDC. This is a small number among the more than 159 million people who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
It’s hard to draw specific conclusions about the infection rate from these numbers, but it’s likely an undercoverage, according to the CDC. Surveillance data are based on voluntary reporting, and not all reports are complete or even representative of the total number of infections.
What scientists do know is that 99.5% of deaths from Covid-19 in the United States are currently unvaccinated people, US surgeon general Vivek Murthy told CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday.
The CDC monitors breakthrough infections to identify people most likely to have breakthrough infections. The CDC said there was no unusual pattern so far.
Who may be more vulnerable to breakthrough infections
It is not yet completely clear. A study of groundbreaking infections that caused hospitalization in Israel, however, found that 6% of 152 people studied had no underlying health problems.
The CDC warned on Friday that vaccines may not protect people who are immunocompromised.
People with weakened immune systems are those who have had an organ transplant, are receiving chemotherapy for cancer, are on dialysis, or are taking certain drugs that weaken the immune system.
Generally, older people may be more vulnerable to a breakthrough infection because studies show that the immune system declines with age. A non-peer-reviewed preprint study in England found that older people were at higher risk for a breakthrough infection. These cases of Covid-19 were generally much milder than in the unvaccinated.
People who live in areas of the country with low vaccination rates may also have a higher likelihood of getting an infection, as they would encounter more people with the disease.
What can you do to prevent a breakthrough infection
“If we want the breakthrough cases to stop, we have to get everyone vaccinated, so there is no more virus circulating and it won’t matter anymore,” Edwards said.
Nationally, less than 50% of the United States has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the CDC.
If more people are vaccinated, the coronavirus has fewer people it can infect. It also limits the number of new variants that can develop. More variants in circulation increase the likelihood that the coronavirus could escape vaccine protection.
“If you are not vaccinated, you are still at risk,” CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said on Friday. “It’s becoming an unvaccinated pandemic. ”
When asked if those vaccinated should do something different than they normally would on Sunday, Murthy told CNN that even with a breakthrough infection “which, again, occurs in a very small minority people – it is likely to be a mild infection or an asymptomatic infection. He said he would wear a mask indoors as a precaution if he was in an area with large numbers of unvaccinated people.
“Again, even though the vaccine doesn’t offer complete protection, it does offer a lot of protection,” Edwards said. “Even when they don’t work as well in immunocompromised patients, they offer some protection. That’s why it’s up to us to get vaccinated because we want to protect these people, the frail and the elderly, and everyone. . ”
“So please I can’t say it enough,” Edwards said. “Get vaccinated. ”