In a new study from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, researchers found breakthrough COVID infections very mild for vaccinated people.
They found that vaccinated adults who got breakthrough infections rarely got severely ill. Respiratory failure, the need for treatment in an intensive care unit, and death were also very rare.
The data covered a stretch between March 2020 and October 2021 when the severe Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 became widespread in the United States.
Omicron, a variant that is better at evading immunity but tends to produce less severe illness, had not yet emerged.
The review included data from 1.2 million people who were fully vaccinated against COVID.
The team found those at highest risk for severe disease or death included people 65 and older, as well as folks with compromised immune systems or chronic illnesses, such as those affecting the kidney, heart, lungs, liver or nervous system.
For every 10,000 vaccinated patients who developed COVID, 1.5 died, and 18 had severe outcomes.
All of those who had worse outcomes had at least one risk factor leaving them vulnerable to severe COVID, and almost 8 in 10 of those who died had four or more.
In addition to getting two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one Johnson & Johnson vaccine, booster shots offer further protection, researchers pointed out.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Moderna and J&J boosters for people 18 and older and the Pfizer booster for everyone 12 and up.
The team says that vaccines may not only slow spread of the virus but also help prevent new variants from emerging.
For vaccinated folks with breakthrough COVID, treatment with monoclonal antibodies can effectively limit the severity of the infection.
As new variants of the virus appear, it will be important to develop new treatments for those already vaccinated, especially for those at risk for severe disease.
If you care about COVID, please read studies that COVID-19 infection, more likely than vaccines, to cause heart inflammation, and new finding may lead to a longer-lasting COVID vaccine.
For more information about health, please see recent studies about nasal vaccine that could help fight new viral variants, and results showing this drug could help lower obesity, fatty liver, improve your heart health.
The study is published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. One author of the study is Dr. Sameer Kadri.
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