With a new wave of COVID-19 hitting the United States, vaccinated people appear to be more at risk than previously thought. The rate of breakthrough infections continues to grow as scientists have to reconsider their previous statements.
“We have to be humble about what we do know and what we don’t know. “There are a few things we can say definitively. One is that this is a hard question to address,” said the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Tom Frieden.
Vaccinated people might feel confused during these times as they do not know precisely how protected they are against the virus and what safety measures they should take. Moreover, it appears that the efficiency of vaccines such as Moderna and Pfizer can fade away in time, making a third booster shot necessary in order to ensure protection.
Researchers continue to look into the new breakthrough infections, although the different variables make it very difficult to analyze and compare data properly. “It’s quite clear that we have more breakthroughs now. We all know someone who has had one. But we don’t have great clinical data,” said infectious disease expert Monica Gandhi.
The outbreak from Provincetown Massachusettts infected mostly vaccinated people, leading to CDC reinstating mask mandates for everyone. This outbreak represented an important turning point regarding safety guidelines for vaccinated people. Some researchers argued that a specific set of factors were responsible for this cluster of infections. According to Gandhi, “the rate of mild symptomatic outbreaks in this population was higher because of a lot of indoor activity (including intimacy), rain that weekend, not much outside time and mixture of people with different vaccination status.”
At the moment, scientists admit that the data they have is “imperfect”, and further research and time will be needed in order to fully understand the current situation.