Why Breakthrough Infections Happen?

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : August 11, 2021

COVID 19 affects even fully vaccinated people. But it is much less than those vaccinated.

No vaccines are available in the world that offers full-proof protection. But they prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

The emerging variants at times pose a threat to the vaccines. But there is no sufficient evidence to suggest that the world needs a booster dose.

Fully vaccinated people are considered to be from COVID 19. But the instances of breakthrough infections even among those who have received the two doses may cause concern. This, according to experts, happens for the following reasons:

  1. No vaccine available for use either in the US or in Europe is 100% effective against Coronavirus infections.
  2. The new variants like the Delta strain have raised suspicions about the effectiveness of vaccines.
  3. Experts are still unclear how long the vaccine-induced immunity lasts.

Why Breakthrough Infections Happen?

Health officials in Israel raised the alarm in the matter. Israel is the country with the highest rate of vaccination. As per the data the country released recently, Pfizer-BioNTech is only 41% effective against symptomatic infection. The study was done when the Delta variant became the dominant strain of the virus in the country. Even then, having two doses of the vaccines offer powerful protection against severe illness, hospitalization, and death, Israel’s Health Ministry revealed. The data also showed a decline in the effectiveness of the vaccines after a few months. But a study done in London showed that Pfizer shots are 88% effective in preventing symptomatic infections.

Why Breakthrough Infections Happen?

Comparing the studies may cause more confusion. The vaccination program is quite different in the two countries. Israel gave Pfizer shots to its adult population. The UK, on the other hand, administered the shots to young adults. There are also different vaccines in use there. Differences in dates too come in the way of comparison. Both the studies, however, show that after two shots, the vaccines prevent hospitalization and death to a great extent. The Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines too showed similar results.

According to experts, COVID 19 infections seen among those fully vaccinated reminds us that no vaccine is 100% perfect.

Certain sections of people will always be at higher risk of the disease. They also point out two other factors that influence the effectiveness of the vaccines:

  1. Declining immunity overtime

Experts are unsure of the longevity of vaccine-induced immunity. This is something that deserves attention more among the elderly and other vulnerable people vaccinated earlier.

  • Breakthrough infections among fully vaccinated, especially due to the Delta variant. Its prevalence has even brought up the question of booster shots. But the country is yet to take a decision in this regard.

An attempt to determine the full force of breakthrough infections is a daunting task. Still, certain studies reveal that more than 125,000 have tested positive for the Coronavirus infection even after being fully vaccinated. 1400 people among them died. Even then, the numbers represent only a small percentage when compared with the total number of people who have received their shots. It is even smaller when compared with the same among unvaccinated people. This is the reason why health officials continue to urge everyone to get vaccinated at the earliest.

According to certain health professionals, people should expect breakthrough infections. Vaccines are not good at preventing infections. But they are powerful against severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

The question of a third dose is another thing. Experts are still unable to determine if a booster shot will add up to the vaccine-induced immunity. They, however, know one thing for sure. If you are fully vaccinated, you are at low risk of hospitalization and death due to the existing variants of Coronavirus.

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Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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