Corona infection despite vaccination

Fact: Even after a complete vaccination, one can still become infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. However, the likelihood of contracting the virus, transmitting it to others, or becoming seriously ill with covid-19 is significantly lower.

Vaccine breakthrough occurs when a fully vaccinated person becomes infected with coronavirus at least 14 days after their second dose. Although the currently used Corona vaccines provide a high level of protection against the virus, a small number of vaccine breakthroughs are expected because the vaccines do not provide 100 percent protection against infection.

In fact, no vaccine for any disease provides 100 percent protection. Even the measles vaccine "only" protects 98 to 99 percent of people.

"Breakthrough infections, while rare, do happen – especially after a single dose of vaccine", Says Dr. Annette Alaeus, infectious disease specialist at Kry. "However, you reduce the risk of hospitalization by about 90 percent – and they reduce the risk of severe course of Covid-19."

What is the risk of contracting Covid-19 after vaccination??

Although vaccine breakthroughs are rare, a few fully vaccinated people can still contract covid-19. The best protection against the highly contagious delta variant, which is currently prevalent in Europe, is complete vaccination (usually with 2 doses of vaccine).

A new study from the U.K. shows that the BionTech/Pfizer vaccine prevents 93 percent symptomatic disease with the delta variant after two doses, while the AstraZeneca vaccine is 71 percent effective.

"Some people are not as well protected by vaccination as others", Dr explains. Alaeus. "Older people are more at risk for breakthrough infections, as are people with weaker immune systems and people taking immunosuppression medications."

In some states, the elderly and immunocompromised can already receive a third booster vaccination. This is to curb rising infection rates in the fall and winter.

What to do if I have Covid 19 symptoms despite vaccination?

"Those who become infected with corona virus after vaccination are likely to have only mild symptoms. The immune system has already been empowered by the vaccine to recognize the virus and produce antibodies", according to Dr. Alaeus. You may have no symptoms at all or few symptoms over a shorter period of time. These can feel like a mild cold.

Other symptoms that have been reported with vaccine breakthroughs include:

If you are fully vaccinated and experience Covid 19 symptoms, you should get tested as a precautionary measure.

"The severity of the disease is lower in those who have a breakthrough infection than in those who have not been vaccinated", says Dr. Alaeus. According to recent RKI figures, more than 94 percent of covid patients in intensive care units are unvaccinated.

A new study from California confirms this: Unvaccinated people are 29 times more likely to be hospitalized with covid-19 than vaccinated people, according to the study.

Can I still infect others despite being vaccinated?

While initial data suggest that vaccines are very effective at preventing transmission. However, it is still possible for vaccinated people to spread the virus – even if they have no symptoms.

"We are seeing more breakthrough infections with the delta variant because it is much more transmissible", according to Dr. Alaeus. "You’re more likely to pass the virus on and be contagious longer, because each person carries a higher viral load with them."

How long do the vaccines last??

There is growing evidence that antibody levels decrease within a few weeks of vaccination – and levels can be expected to decrease over time if people are not constantly exposed to the virus.

However, recent research also shows, That the protection against severe disease and fatal courses seems to be maintained, Because other immune cells are maintained for a longer period of time.

"We don’t yet fully know how long the protection from the coronavirus vaccines lasts. However, early clinical studies suggest that people with two doses have enough immune cells to prevent severe disease a year later,", According to Dr. Alaeus.

Can I get Long Covid despite vaccination?

Currently, there is little data, and larger studies are still underway.

What can I do to protect myself from Delta and other viral variants?

Vaccination remains the safest and most effective way to reduce the risk of covid-19. In addition to vaccination, we should continue to protect ourselves and others by

  • Respect local restrictions,
  • Wear a mask indoors,
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated areas,
  • wash our hands regularly and
  • Keep your distance.

"In addition to these measures, it makes sense to continue rapid testing after vaccination to prevent inadvertent spread of the virus", according to Dr. Alaeus.

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