What You Need to Know
by Carson Blomquist
There have been a number of vaccinated people getting COVID-19. What does that mean, and what do you need to do to stay safe?
What’s a breakthrough infection?
A breakthrough infection is when someone gets COVID-19 after they have been fully vaccinated.
Why is this happening?
A vaccine doesn’t mean you’re 100 percent protected against a virus. But it is a powerful line of defense. Some people, especially those who have chronic health conditions or are older, can still catch a virus after being vaccinated.
How many cases have been reported?
As of Aug. 2, the CDC has reported 7,525 cases in which a person was hospitalized with COVID-19 after being vaccinated. Of those cases, nearly three-quarters were adults aged 65 and older. Keep in mind: more than 164 million people have been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Are the vaccines really effective?
Yes. A CDC study from April found the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were 96 percent effective in preventing hospitalizations for adults age 65-74. For adults age 75 and older, the Moderna vaccine was 96 percent effective and the Pfizer vaccine was 91 percent. The long and
short of it: vaccines work (for more information, visit https://www. cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7032e3.htm).
I’m not vaccinated. What should I do?
Talk to your primary doctor and see if the vaccine is right for you. There are very few people who should not get vaccinated because of serious health conditions, so the odds are your doctor will encourage you to get it.
Keep following safety guidelines: wear a mask in public, keep your distance from others, and wash your hands.
I am vaccinated. Do I need to keep following protocols?
Don’t let your guard down! Even though breakthrough infections are very rare, it’s not worth taking a risk. And you can still carry the virus, if you don’t show any symptoms.
This virus likes to hitch a ride where it can, and while it may not be able to infect you, it can use you to get to others. Wear your face mask in public, maintain social distance and keep washing your hands.
Am I going to need a booster shot?
The CDC now recommends that people whose immune systems are compromised moderately to severely should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine after the initial 2 doses. Widespread vaccination is a critical tool to help stop the pandemic. Check with your doctor for more information.
Is this ever going to end?
It has been an exhausting 19 months. We all want things to go back to normal. But the virus doesn’t care about what we want. As we all get vaccinated or develop natural immunity, we’ll develop what is called herd immunity.
Getting through this pandemic means we all have to do our part and keep our loved ones, communities and selves safe.