At this point, you are fully vaccinated. If you are still infected with COVID-19 at this point, you have a “breakthrough” infection. Broadly speaking, breakthrough infections are similar to normal COVID-19 infections in unvaccinated individuals, with some differences. The points to note are as follows. For if you had both jabs.
According to the COVID Symptoms Study, the five most common symptoms of breakthrough infections are headache, runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, and loss of odor. Some of these are the same symptoms as people who have never been vaccinated. If not vaccinated, the three most common symptoms are headache, sore throat, and runny nose.
However, the other two most common unvaccinated symptoms are fever and persistent cough. These two “classical” COVID-19 symptoms become less common with jabs. One study found that people with breakthrough infections were 58% less likely to have a fever than those who were not vaccinated. Vaccination is said to make many people feel cold.
Also, vaccinated people are less likely to be hospitalized if they develop COVID-19 than unvaccinated people. It also has fewer symptoms in the early stages of the disease and is less likely to develop long-term COVID.
The reason the disease in vaccinated people is mild may be that if the vaccine does not stop the infection, the infected people will appear to have fewer viral particles in their bodies. However, this has not yet been confirmed.
What increases the risk?
Studies have shown that in the United Kingdom, 0.2% of the population, or 1 in 500, experiences a breakthrough infection when fully vaccinated. But not everyone is at the same risk. Four things seem to contribute to how well you are protected by vaccination.
The first is the specific vaccine type received and the relative risk reduction provided by each type. Relative risk reduction is a measure of how much a vaccine reduces the risk of developing COVID-19 compared to unvaccinated people.
Clinical trials have shown that the Moderna vaccine reduced the risk of developing symptomatic COVID-19 by 94%, while the Pfizer vaccine reduced this risk by 95%. Performance of the Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines declined, reducing this risk by about 66% and 70%, respectively (although the protection provided by the AstraZeneca vaccine increased to 81% if long gaps remained between doses, respectively. Seemed to do).
Time from vaccination
However, these numbers do not give the big picture. The time since vaccination is also important, and it is becoming increasingly clear that it is one of the reasons for the intensifying debate about booster immunity.
Early studies, yet preprinted (and not yet reviewed by other scientists), suggest that Pfizer vaccine protection diminishes six months after vaccination. Another preprint from Israel also suggests that this is the case. It is premature to know what the effectiveness of the vaccine will be after 6 months of double vaccination, but it can be even worse.
Another important factor is the variant of the virus you are facing. The above risk reduction was calculated primarily by testing the vaccine against the original form of coronavirus.
However, in the face of alpha variants, two doses of Pfizer vaccine provide a slight reduction in defense and a 93% reduction in the risk of developing COVID-19 symptoms, according to data from Public Health England. For Delta, the level of protection is even lower, at 88%. The AstraZeneca vaccine is also affected in this way.
The COVID Symptoms Study supports all of this. The data suggest that within 2-4 weeks of receiving the second Pfizer jab, the chances of developing COVID-19 symptoms when faced with Delta are approximately 87% lower. After 4-5 months, that number drops to 77%.
Your immune system
It is important to remember that the numbers above indicate an average risk reduction for the entire population. Your own risk depends on your own immune level and other people’s specific factors (which may be determined by your work, such as how much you are exposed to the virus).
Immunity usually declines with age. Long-term medical conditions can also impair vaccination response. Therefore, older people and people with a weakened immune system may have lower levels of vaccine protection against COVID-19 or may have faster protection.
It is also worth remembering that the most clinically vulnerable people were vaccinated first. Probably because they were vaccinated more than eight months ago, their reduced defenses may increase their risk of experiencing a breakthrough infection.
Do you need to worry?
Vaccines still significantly reduce the chance of getting COVID-19. They also provide even stronger protection from hospitalization and death.
However, it is about seeing breakthrough infections, and as suspected, there is concern that they may increase if vaccine protection declines over time.
Therefore, the UK government is planning to give booster doses to the most vulnerable people and is also considering whether boosters should be given more widely. Other countries, including France and Germany, are already planning to provide boosters to groups considered to be at high risk for COVID-19.
However, even if boosters were to be used, this should not be interpreted as a vaccine ineffectiveness. In the meantime, it is imperative to promote vaccination to all eligible individuals who have not yet been vaccinated.
Vassilios Vassiliou, Ciaran Grafton-Clarke, Ranu Baral, University of East Anglia
This story was published from the Wire Agency Feed without changing the text. Only the heading has changed.
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