Explained: Why are so many vaccinated people getting COVID-19 lately?

People might mistakenly think the COVID-19 vaccines will completely block infection, but the shots are mainly designed to prevent severe illness, says Louis Mansky, a virus researcher at the University of Minnesota.

The Associated Press January 04, 2022 13:05:08 IST
Explained: Why are so many vaccinated people getting COVID-19 lately?

Representative image.

A couple of factors are at play, starting with the emergence of the highly contagious omicron variant. Omicron is more likely to infect people, even if it doesn't make them very sick, and its surge coincided with the holiday travel season in many places.

People might mistakenly think the COVID-19 vaccines will completely block infection, but the shots are mainly designed to prevent severe illness, says Louis Mansky, a virus researcher at the University of Minnesota.

And the vaccines are still doing their job on that front, particularly for people who've gotten boosters.

Two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine still offer strong protection against serious illness from omicron. While those initial doses aren’t very good at blocking omicron infection, boosters — particularly with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — rev up levels of the antibodies to help fend off infection.

Omicron appears to replicate much more efficiently than previous variants. And if infected people have high virus loads, there's a greater likelihood they'll pass it on to others, especially the unvaccinated. Vaccinated people who get the virus are more likely to have mild symptoms, if any, since the shots trigger multiple defenses in your immune system, making it much more difficult for omicron to slip past them all.

Advice for staying safe hasn't changed. Doctors say to wear masks indoors, avoid crowds and get vaccinated and boosted. Even though the shots won’t always keep you from catching the virus, they'll make it much more likely you stay alive and out of the hospital.

Updated Date:

also read

North Korea reports six deaths, a day after acknowledging COVID-19 outbreak
World

North Korea reports six deaths, a day after acknowledging COVID-19 outbreak

The true scale is unclear, but a big COVID-19 outbreak could be devastating in a country with a broken health care system and an unvaccinated, malnourished population

North Korea reports first COVID-19 outbreak, declares 'severe national emergency'
World

North Korea reports first COVID-19 outbreak, declares 'severe national emergency'

North Korea has never admitted to a case of COVID-19, with the government imposing a rigid coronavirus blockade of its borders since the start of the pandemic in 2020

COVID 19: INSACOG confirms first case of BA.4, BA.5 Omicron subvariants in India
Health

COVID 19: INSACOG confirms first case of BA.4, BA.5 Omicron subvariants in India

BA.4 and BA.5 are subvariants of the Omicron variant circulating globally. These were reported first from South Africa earlier this year and are now reported from several other countries