FAMILY HEALTHCAST — We’re learning more about breakthrough infections; people who get COVID-19 even though they’re fully vaccinated. The highly contagious Delta variant is causing more breakthroughs, but the good news is those infections remain rare and the vaccines offer very strong protection from what’s known as long COVID.
A large new report from Great Britain finds people who’ve had the shots and get COVID are about 50% less likely to end up with long COVID, where symptoms can be long term and debilitating. They include fatigue, shortness of breath, brain fog, heart palpitations and other symptoms. There is no treatment for long COVID.
The new findings are based on data from more than 1.2 million adults in the COVID Symptom Study, in which volunteers use a mobile app to log their symptoms, test results and vaccination records. Of the nearly 1 million people who were fully vaccinated, 0.2% reported a breakthrough infection, the researchers found.
Those who did get breakthrough infections were roughly twice as likely to be asymptomatic as were those who were infected and unvaccinated. The odds of being hospitalized were 73% lower in the breakthrough group than the infected, unvaccinated group. The odds of having long-term symptoms – lasting at least four weeks after infection – were also 49% lower.
The study’s lead author says she hopes the findings might encourage more young people, whose vaccination rates have lagged behind, to get the shots. Young adults are less likely to become seriously ill from the virus than older adults, but they are still at risk for “long COVID”, she noted.