Health officials talk Breakthrough COVID-19 and what you need to know

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 10:39 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Health officials said cases of “Breakthrough Covid-19”, where you catch the virus after being fully vaccinated, are starting to pop up across the state.

Infectious disease experts at the Jefferson County Health Department said catching Covid-19 after being fully vaccinated is rare.

Dr. Wesley Willeford said breakthrough Covid symptoms are very similar to symptoms from the virus if you are unvaccinated. He said it will likely still appear as fever, chills, sore throat , and muscle aches.

Dr. Willeford said breakthrough symptoms and illness will likely be less severe.

“The good news is most of these breakthrough cases tend to be pretty mild,” he said. “They tend to be much milder than if you had Covid-19 with no protection at all.”

D. Willeford said since breakthrough cases can happen, it is important to continue to get tested for the virus if you are experiencing any of those symptoms.

He said more research is being done now on how transmissible the virus is from breakthrough patients to others.

Willeford said Covid vaccines are between 90-95 percent effective in general, but depending on your immune system, you could get less protection from one of the shots.

He said each person’s immune response to the vaccines are different and people with compromised immune systems are more at risk to catch Covid, even after the shot.

He said many breakthrough cases across the country are appearing in older generations or people with illnesses that weaken the immune system, like autoimmune diseases.

He said the chances of catching breakthrough Covid if you are younger or have a healthy immune system are much lower.

He said right now, you are more likely to catch other respiratory illnesses.

“If you are fully vaccinated and you are feeling ill, in all likelihood it is probably going to be something else, but we still need to answer that question of what actually is going on because you might be one of those rare few who may have picked up Covid even though you are fully vaccinated,” Dr. Willeford said.

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