What Are Breakthrough Infections?

Recently, the CDC has gone on record in saying that COVID-19 breakthrough infections are much more likely than they used to be. But, why?

Our AFC Urgent Care Gastonia team provides some answers below, so read on!

Why Do Breakthrough Infections Happen?

Breakthrough infections—infections that happen when a person tests positive for COVID-19 at least two weeks after becoming fully vaccinated, including receiving a booster shot when eligible—are much more common with the omicron variant than they were with any other variant.

The reason for this is because the omicron variant is much more transmissible than previous variants, due to its different mutations. This, in turn, makes it more able to escape the passive immunity that is provided from initial COVID-19 vaccinations. Initial omicron symptoms also look a little different, and we’ve listed them below.

Common Initial Omicron Symptoms

  • Cough
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Congestion and runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Headache

Do COVID-19 Vaccines Not Work to Protect Against Omicron?

Vaccines remain incredibly effective. While it is true that the likelihood of breakthrough infections are higher with the omicron variant, studies have shown that COVID-19 vaccines and booster shots are very successful in lowering the risk of serious illness and hospitalization, which is the ultimate goal of vaccines.

Furthermore, breakthrough infections were always going to happen, albeit they were more rare early on. The point of vaccines and booster shots, though, is to protect against serious illness, which is what will ultimately power us through the pandemic and make COVID-19 simply another respiratory illness.

Additional Ways to Prevent Omicron Infection

  • Wear a well-fitting N95 or KN95 mask. These offer the highest level of protection, according to the CDC.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly and often. Make sure to wash for at least 20 seconds each time to properly rid of lingering bacterial and viral particles.
  • Be smart with where you go and the events you attend. Even though physical distancing is still recommended by the CDC, not many adhere to it anymore. If you are immunocompromised, live with someone who is at high risk of becoming seriously ill or you have young children at home, you may want to be more cautious and keep your distance in public.

Do you need non-emergency medical care? Our AFC team is here for you now and always, so don’t hesitate to stop by today!