According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC), COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing infection, serious illness, and death. Most people who get COVID-19 are unvaccinated. However, since vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing infection, some people who are fully vaccinated will still get COVID-19. An infection of a fully vaccinated person is referred to as a “vaccine breakthrough infection.”
What We Know about Vaccine Breakthrough Infections
- Vaccine breakthrough infections are expected. COVID-19 vaccines are effective at preventing most infections. However, like other vaccines, they are not 100% effective.
- Fully vaccinated people with a vaccine breakthrough infection are less likely to develop serious illness than those who are unvaccinated and get COVID-19.
- Even when fully vaccinated people develop symptoms, they tend to be less severe symptoms than in unvaccinated people. This means they are much less likely to be hospitalized or die than people who are not vaccinated.
- People who get vaccine breakthrough infections can be contagious.
CDC is collecting data on vaccine breakthrough infections and closely monitors the safety and effectiveness of all Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized COVID-19 vaccines. Because vaccines are not 100% effective, as the number of people who are fully vaccinated goes up, the number of vaccine breakthrough infections will also increase. However, the risk of infection remains much higher for unvaccinated than vaccinated people. Studies so far show that vaccinated people are 8 times less likely to be infected and 25 times less likely to experience hospitalization or death. Vaccines remain effective in protecting most people from COVID-19 infection and its complications.
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