How can people who are fully vaccinated get infected with COVID-19?

Family Healthcast

FAMILY HEALTHCAST — A White house staffer, at least three New York Yankees and an Olympic gymnast were all fully vaccinated, but they tested positive for coronavirus this week. People are wondering how that could happen. 

It’s a great question, and the answer is complicated. That’s because what we know about coronavirus we’re learning in real time and the virus continues to evolve.

The Chief of Infectious Disease at Cornell Medicine says: “Breakthrough infections are to be expected, even when you have highly effective vaccines.”

It is believed to be rare for fully vaccinated people to get COVID, and the numbers bear this out.

More than 97 percent of people in the hospital right now are unvaccinated. Almost all of the U.S. patients who died recently from covid-19 were not immunized.

When it comes to the Delta variant, the data are promising.

Full immunization with the Pfizer vaccine is 88 percent effective at stopping the Delta variant from causing symptoms, according to a study in the U.K., where delta has been dominant for months. The other vaccine that uses mRNA technology, Moderna, is believed to offer this level of protection too.

As for Johnson & Johnson, one recent study that has not been published found a diminished early indication that a J&J shot can provide a robust response against Delta.

Public health experts say the coronavirus vaccines almost always stop you from getting very sick, but they cannot always stop infection. No vaccine is perfect, take the flu shot for example- it reduces the risk of illness by between 40 percent and 60 percent on average.

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