This Is How Likely You Are to Get COVID After Being Vaccinated, CDC Says
Breakthrough infections are most common among certain groups of people, data shows.
After a year full of fear about contracting COVID-19, people are finally breathing a sigh of relief thanks to the COVID vaccine. But unfortunately, even with some vaccines' incredible 90-plus percent efficacy rates, you're not totally in the clear once you've been vaccinated. There is a very small chance that you could still get COVID, and now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released information detailing just how common that is. "Like is seen with other vaccines, we expect thousands of vaccine breakthrough cases will occur even though the vaccine is working as expected," the CDC told Best Life in a statement. Read on to find out just how many cases of COVID have been reported after people have been fully vaccinated, and to learn about how exactly you can end up catching COVID after your shots, check out Dr. Fauci Says This Is How You Can Catch COVID Even If You're Vaccinated.
You have a 0.008 percent chance of getting COVID after being fully vaccinated.
The CDC told Best Life that 5,800 breakthrough infections have been reported as of April 13. Breakthrough cases are defined as positive COVID test results at least two weeks after a person got their final vaccine dose, meaning they're considered fully vaccinated. With more than 75 million people fully vaccinated in the U.S. as of April 13, according to the CDC, these 5,800 cases represent just about 0.008 percent of the vaccinated population.
Ahead of this information being released, White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, pointed out that breakthrough infections are a common occurrence with vaccines in general. "We see this with all vaccines in clinical trials. And in the real world, no vaccine is 100 percent efficacious or effective, which means that you will always see breakthrough infections regardless of the efficacy of your vaccine," Fauci said during an April 12 White House COVID-19 Response Team press briefing.
"Vaccine breakthrough infections make up a small percentage of people who are fully vaccinated," the CDC said in a statement via email. The agency noted that fully vaccinated people should continue to take precautions in public spaces, including wearing a mask, social distancing, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces, and maintaining good hand hygiene.
To see what you should do following your shot, check out Make Sure to Do This the Day After Your COVID Vaccine, Experts Say.
The majority of breakthrough cases were seen in people over the age of 60 and in women.
According to the CDC, breakthrough infections were reported among people of all ages, but there were some noticeable patterns in terms of age and sex.
"A little over 40 percent of the infections were in people 60 or more years of age," the CDC said, adding that "65 percent of the people experiencing a breakthrough infection were female."
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Only seven percent of fully vaccinated people who got COVID became seriously ill.
According to the CDC, only 29 percent of the breakthrough infections were asymptomatic, so the majority of these infections came with symptoms. Though most were not serious, 396 people (7 percent) who got infected with COVID after they were fully vaccinated required hospitalization and 74 people (1 percent) who were fully vaccinated died. "To date, no unexpected patterns have been identified in case demographics or vaccine characteristics," the agency said.
The CDC added that samples from the breakthrough cases will be collected for genomic sequencing to find out which variants they stemmed from.
CNN reports that this is the first indication from the CDC that the vaccines don't protect completely against severe disease and death in real-life scenarios.
And to see which spots you should still avoid after your shot, check out The 2 Places Dr. Fauci Still Won't Go After Vaccination.
Another recent study found a slightly higher percentage of breakthrough infections.
A March 23 letter in The New England Journal of Medicine described a study in which researchers tested fully vaccinated healthcare workers at the University of California, San Diego and University of California, Los Angeles for COVID weekly. Researchers found that there was a .05 percent positivity rate. While this is notably higher than the CDC's breakthrough infection rate, that could be because the study coincided with a surge of infections in California and healthcare workers are exposed to more virus than the average person.
And overall, it's still a low rate. Researchers said the "rarity of positive test results 14 days after administration of the second dose of vaccine is encouraging and suggests that the efficacy of these vaccines is maintained outside the trial setting." To see how long your vaccine will keep you safe, check out This Is How Long the Moderna Vaccine Really Protects You, New Study Says.