Here’s What Increases Your Risk Of Contracting COVID-19 Even While Fully Vaccinated!

Here’s What Increases Your Risk Of Contracting COVID-19 Even While Fully Vaccinated!

While you are much less likely to get hospitalized for COVID-19 if you are vaccinated, that is not to say that you can’t catch the virus at all!

One new study from the UK discovered that 1 in every 500 people (0.2 percent of the population) can still go through a breakthrough infection in spite of having received both doses of an anti-COVID vaccine.

With that being said, there are actually several factors that can lead to vaccinated infection (also known as a “breakthough infection”), including the type of vaccine chosen and the amount of time that’s passed since vaccination.

More precisely, about two weeks after receiving the second dose of the vaccine is when the protective effects are at their highest.

That is when you’re truly considered fully vaccinated and can worry very little about contracting COVID-19.

But if you still get sick after this point, it means you experience a so called “breakthrough” infection, which, broadly speaking, is pretty similar to a regular infection unvaccinated people experience.

However, it’s important to know that there are also some differences so you can identify the things you need to look out for after having received both shots of the vaccine.

First of all, as per the COVID Symptom Study, the most common symptoms experienced by vaccinated COVID-19 patients are: runny nose, headache, sneezing, sore throat and loss of smell.

Of course, some of these symptoms are experienced by unvaccinated patients as well, the most common amongst them being sore throat, headache and runny nose.

Unvaccinated patients also deal with a persistent cough and fever most of the time, both of them being much less common amongst those who had received the jab.

More precisely, according to a study, breakthrough infectees are 58 percent less likely to have a fever upon contracting COVID than unvaccinated infectees.

Furthermore, many vaccinated patients compare their experience with COVID-19 to a normal head cold, the symptoms being that much less severe.

As a result, they are also less likely to need hospitalization and to develop “long Covid.”

This seemingly happens because vaccines, even when they don’t manage to completely block the virus from infecting the body, make it so that patients have fewer virus particles.

So what raises the risk of infection even after getting fully vaccinated?

The UK researchers have concluded that there are four main things that influence your chances of contracting the virus and the level of vaccination protection.

1. First of all, as mentioned before, the type of vaccine you pick out of the ones available plays a big role.

More precisely, clinical trials have demonstrated that Pfizer is able to reduce the risk of infection by 95 percent, Moderna by 94 percent, while AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson are less effective, reducing the risk by 70 percent and 66 percent, respectively.

It’s important to note that in the case of AstraZeneca, tests seem to show that its effectiveness can rise to 81 percent when there’s a longer time between doses.

2. Time passed since vaccination is also a factor and it’s becoming more and more apparent, which is why the discussions about the need for a booster have been intensifying lately.

Some early research that is yet to be peer reviewed seems to suggest that Pfizer’s protection lowers over the six months after receiving the jab.

Beyond the six months, it’s still unclear what happens to vaccine efficacy but it seems logical that it keeps reducing more and more.

3. Another significant factor that influences the number of breakthrough cases is the variant you’re faced with!

After all, the impressive reduction in risk of infection mentioned earlier in this article was calculated by testing the vaccines against the initial form of the COVID-19 virus.

However, when faced with the alpha variant, for instance, the vaccine is not as effective.

According to Public Health England data, Pfizer reduces the risk of contracting the alpha variant by 93 percent which is only slightly lower than the protection provided against the original virus.

In the case of the delta variant, however, the level of protection falls even further, being reduced to 88 percent and the other vaccines are affected in the same way.

This data is also backed up by the COVID Symptom Study, which suggests that, after receiving the second dose of Pfizer, you are around 87 percent less likely to get infected if you stumble upon the delta variant.

And as time goes on, the protection lowers to about 77 percent after 4-5 months.

4. Finally, your immune system plays a big role as well.

In reality, the data above refers to average risk across the entire population but the risk reduction percentage can vary from one person to another depending on their immunity level and other personal factors such as how exposed they are to the virus.

The latter is usually most determined by things like your lifestyle and how much you follow safety precautions as well as your environment, such as the sort of job you do, some work environments being riskier than others.

Your immune system typically becomes weaker with age but some chronic medical conditions can also contribute to how our bodies respond to the vaccine and its protective properties.

With that being said, immuno-compromised or older people may get lower levels of vaccine protection or may experience protection reduction in a shorter time from vaccination date.

It is also worth remembering that the most vulnerable people were prioritized, most of them getting vaccinated even as far as eight months ago, something that may be heightening their risk of breakthrough infection.

So how worried should you be about COVID-19 and its variants if you’re fully vaccinated?

At the end of the day, clinical studies and overall population data show that no matter the variables involved, vaccines still significantly reduce your chances of contracting and spreading COVID-19.

Most importantly, they vastly reduce the chances of hospitalization and death from the virus.

Still, it’s a concerning issue as time goes on and the protection from the vaccine keeps getting weaker and weaker.

Saying this, it makes sense that the UK government is seriously considering allowing another booster shot for the most vulnerable and also debating whether or not boosters should be made widely available soon.

And they’re not the only country! Other nations such as Germany and France are also planning on giving booster shots to those at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing serious, potentially deadly, symptoms.

Katherine Baldwin

Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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