Understanding Breakthrough Infections and Risk Factors for Fully Vaccinating People

Understanding Breakthrough Infections and Risk Factors for Fully Vaccinating People

There are many unknown things about the Covid-19 virus that scientists need to discover. Whenever a new virus emerges, it takes time to study its possible impact, vaccines’ effectiveness, and ways to eradicate it, if possible. In August, the FDA fully approved the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, and other pharmaceutical companies have already sent their data and are waiting for full approval. Recent studies show that the two mRNA vaccines used in the U.S against the Covid-19 virus are 89% effective against infections that could lead to hospitalizations and 91% effective against infections that may lead to emergency care.  

However, even if fully vaccinated, people can still suffer from a breakthrough infection. 

What are breakthrough infections?

According to the CDC, a breakthrough infection happens when a person who has been vaccinated fully vaccinated for two weeks gets the infection. After 14 days of receiving the second dose, the effectiveness of the Covid-19 vaccines should be at its peak. Those who get infected during that time span experience a breakthrough infection. 

Fully vaccinated people experiencing a breakthrough infection experience different symptoms

As the world is racing to end the new coronavirus pandemic, epidemiologists and health experts are conducting several studies. A recent one mentions that breakthrough infections might trigger different symptoms than those experienced by unvaccinated people infected with the Covid-19 virus. 

The most common symptoms for unvaccinated people who get infected with the virus are fever and cough, headache, sore throat, loss of taste and smell, and runny nose. However, people experiencing breakthrough infections are less likely to experience fever and cough, and they are less likely to need hospital care. Fully vaccinated people experience symptoms similar to a regular cold, such as headache and runny nose. 

What are risk factors to consider?

The available data from studies and investigations suggest that some fully vaccinated people are more prone to get infected than others. One of the most important factors is the type of vaccine. Each vaccine has its own characteristics, and some are more effective than others are. So far, there are several types of Covid-19 vaccines available worldwide: mRNA, viral vector vaccines, and DNA vaccines. Another factor is the time span between the vaccine doses. Some vaccines come in monodose, and others require two doses or even three. The time since vaccination is also relevant. Like many other vaccines, Covid-19 vaccines lose their effectiveness in time. 

Viruses mutate and evolve in new variants. The most dangerous Covid-19 variant has been so far the Delta strain, which originated in India. Studies have shown that some variants are more resistant to the vaccine than others are. 



I am a pop culture and social media expert. Aside from writing about the latest news health, I also enjoy pop culture and Yoga. I have BA in American Cultural Studies and currently enrolled in a Mass-Media MA program. I like to spend my spring breaks volunteering overseas.

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