Is it possible to get COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated?
Experts say it is possible, but that does not mean that COVID-19 vaccines are not working.
With reports of some people getting contracting the COVID-19 virus even after being fully vaccinated, some may wonder what that says about the vaccine.
Experts say it’s important to understand the meaning of vaccine efficacy. In other words, is the vaccine doing what it’s designed to do? Bryan Health officials say it is.
“Basically with this vaccine, it’s intended to keep you from getting really sick or dying from the virus,” he said. “In this case, the efficacy of the vaccine is is working really well.”
“It may not completely prevent you from getting the virus, but it turns it from a life-threatening illness to symptoms more consistent with the common flu or a common cold,” cardiologist Robert Percell said.
Hospitalizations and deaths have fallen across the state of Nebraska since the vaccine was first rolled out a few months ago. The combination of an increasing number of people getting vaccinated and the continued use of non-pharmaceutical interventions like mask-wearing and social distancing have contributed to this. Still, experts advise exercising caution for two reasons: the risk of spreading the virus, even after being vaccinated, and the possible dangers COVID-19 variants may present.
“We know it prevents you very effectively from getting disease, but we don’t know if it totally prevents you from getting infected, where you could still shed,” says pulmonologist Kevin Reichmuth.
Bryan Health says the efficacy of the vaccines range from 75 to 95 percent effectiveness in preventing people from developing severe symptoms, and is nearly foolproof in preventing against hospitalizations and other severe complications.
Out of more than 5800 vaccinated individuals, Bryan Health has seen three instances where a fully vaccinated person has gotten the virus. It is not known if the patients had COVID-19 before getting both shots.