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Explained: What Is A Breakthrough Infection And How To Prevent Catching COVID-19 After Getting Fully Vaccinated

Even after getting vaccinated for COVID-19, one should still wear a mask in public, maintain social distance and wash hands frequently to reduce the chances of catching the coronavirus and passing it to others, say experts

Explained: What Is A Breakthrough Infection And How To Prevent Catching COVID-19 After Getting Fully Vaccinated

New Delhi: Recently a case of the 26-year-old Mumbai doctor testing positive thrice in 13 months was reported. Out of the three times, she tested positive for Covid twice after taking both doses of a vaccine. While vaccines are a critical tool to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, there are cases of people getting Covid infection days after getting fully vaccinated are being reported from across the globe. These are called the breakthrough infections as the virus broke through the protective barrier provided by the vaccine, as per the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC), USA. NDTV spoke with Dr Chandrakant Lahariya, public policy and health systems expert and Dr. Shishir Pandey, Assistant Professor, Department of medicine, Sharda Hospital to learn about Covid vaccine breakthrough infection and ways to prevent it.

Also Read: Understanding The Pace Of India’s COVID-19 Vaccination Drive

Vaccine breakthrough infections are expected as no vaccines are 100 per cent effective in preventing the illness among vaccinated people, said Dr Lahariya. He said,

There are always a small number of people who still get sick even after getting vaccinated against a disease. In case of COVID-19, health agencies define vaccine breakthrough infection as one in which a nasal swab can detect the coronavirus protein more than two weeks after a person has completed the full recommended doses of an authorized Covid vaccine.

How Common Is Covid Infection Among Fully Vaccinated People?

According to Dr Pandey, breakthrough infections in people vaccinated against Covid are very rare as of now. He added that breakthrough infections are more likely to happen among healthcare workers who are in frequent contact with infected patients. For instance, a study carried out by Post Graduate Institute of Medical Science and Research (PGIMSR), Chandigarh and published in The New England Journal of Medicine in June 2021 followed over 12,200 healthcare workers out of whom over 3,650 healthcare workers were fully vaccinated of whom only 72 people got the infected with Covid after about 20 days of getting the second dose.

Dr Lahariya highlighted that apart from exposure to higher viral load, other causes of breakthrough infections include vaccines triggering a less robust immune response among people. He said that the chances of a breakthrough infection get higher with increasing age. Being immunocompromised or having comorbidities like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, lung diseases and cancer increase the chances of breakthrough infections, Dr Lahariya stressed. He also said that the new variants like Delta and Delta Plus variants that are more contagious can also cause breakthrough infections.

Also Read: Covid Vaccines For Children: Experts Speak On The Options Available For India

Symptoms Of Breakthrough Infections Are Milder

Vaccine breakthrough infections are usually mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic, said Dr Pandey. The symptoms in such cases are similar to mild Covid that include fever, cough, body ache and can be mostly managed without hospitalisation, he said adding that a breakthrough infection usually do not lead to severe illeness.

Prevention

According to the experts, in order to avoid getting breakthrough infections, following COVID-19 preventive measures like wearing masks in public, maintaining social distance and washing hands frequently is crucial even after getting fully vaccinated. Dr Lahayriya emphasised that taking vaccine is critical as it can lower the impact of the virus on the body and the benefits of vaccination outweigh the side effects and risks.

Also Read: Need Effective Mechanism To Address Global COVID Vaccine Inequity: India In UN Security Council

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

22,70,55,138Cases
18,97,86,461Active
3,25,98,424Recovered
46,70,253Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,70,55,138 and 46,70,253 have died; 18,97,86,461 are active cases and 3,25,98,424 have recovered as on September 17, 2021 at 5:36 am.

India

3,33,81,728 34,403Cases
3,39,0563,867Active
3,25,98,424 37,950Recovered
4,44,248 320Deaths
In India, there are 3,33,81,728 confirmed cases including 4,44,248 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,39,056 and 3,25,98,424 have recovered as on September 17, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,11,525 3,595

52,893 310

63,20,310 3,240

1,38,322 45

Kerala

44,46,228 22,182

1,86,754 4,559

42,36,309 26,563

23,165 178

Karnataka

29,65,191 1,108

16,202 282

29,11,434 808

37,555 18

Tamil Nadu

26,40,361 1,693

16,756 120

25,88,334 1,548

35,271 25

Andhra Pradesh

20,34,786 1,367

14,708 105

20,06,034 1,248

14,044 14

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,628 23

193 11

16,86,549 11

22,886 1

West Bengal

15,59,567 707

8,025 25

15,32,922 725

18,620 7

Delhi

14,38,373 28

409 5

14,12,880 22

25,084 1

Odisha

10,18,298 580

5,335 105

10,04,845 681

8,118 4

Chhattisgarh

10,04,988 31

352 2

9,91,077 29

13,559

Rajasthan

9,54,230 4

103 1

9,45,173 5

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,677 22

149 0

8,15,446 22

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,374 7

119 5

7,81,738 12

10,517

Haryana

7,70,697 9

327 8

7,60,562 17

9,808

Bihar

7,25,864 12

72 6

7,16,134 6

9,658

Telangana

6,62,785 259

5,282 43

6,53,603 301

3,900 1

Punjab

6,01,180 30

314 11

5,84,399 38

16,467 3

Assam

5,97,074 468

5,381 15

5,85,914 479

5,779 4

Jharkhand

3,48,102 6

102 8

3,42,867 14

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,330 20

284 12

3,35,657 32

7,389

Jammu And Kashmir

3,27,466 170

1,421 72

3,21,630 98

4,415

Himachal Pradesh

2,16,430 127

1,568 82

2,11,215 206

3,647 3

Goa

1,75,183 95

699 1

1,71,195 96

3,289

Puducherry

1,25,170 107

963 63

1,22,380 42

1,827 2

Manipur

1,17,913 216

2,614 7

1,13,478 219

1,821 4

Tripura

83,787 31

427 26

82,553 56

807 1

Meghalaya

78,958 229

1,804 140

75,784 86

1,370 3

Mizoram

76,591 1,121

13,888 85

62,449 1,202

254 4

Chandigarh

65,168 4

31 2

64,319 2

818

Arunachal Pradesh

53,990 47

536 9

53,183 56

271

Sikkim

30,802 64

775 28

29,648 36

379

Nagaland

30,763 32

505 14

29,610 44

648 2

Ladakh

20,631 6

41 1

20,383 5

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

5 0

10,661

4

Lakshadweep

10,353

4 0

10,298

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,595 3

15 2

7,451 1

129

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