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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
Highlights
  • Infection occurring in fully vaccinated people are breakthrough cases
  • No vaccine is 100% effective and so continue to follow Covid norms: Experts
  • Breakthrough infections are uncommon and milder: Experts

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

22,95,44,435Cases
19,20,52,504Active
3,27,83,741Recovered
47,08,190Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,95,44,435 and 47,08,190 have died; 19,20,52,504 are active cases and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 3:49 am.

India

3,35,31,498 26,964Cases
3,01,9897,586Active
3,27,83,741 34,167Recovered
4,45,768 383Deaths
In India, there are 3,35,31,498 confirmed cases including 4,45,768 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,01,989 and 3,27,83,741 have recovered as on September 22, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,27,629 3,131

44,269 960

63,44,744 4,021

1,38,616 70

Kerala

45,39,926 15,768

1,61,765 5,813

43,54,264 21,367

23,897 214

Karnataka

29,69,361 818

13,769 617

29,17,944 1,414

37,648 21

Tamil Nadu

26,48,688 1,647

16,993 9

25,96,316 1,619

35,379 19

Andhra Pradesh

20,40,708 1,179

13,905 483

20,12,714 1,651

14,089 11

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,693 13

194 0

16,86,612 13

22,887

West Bengal

15,62,710 537

7,741 69

15,36,291 592

18,678 14

Delhi

14,38,556 39

400 21

14,13,071 18

25,085

Odisha

10,21,216 462

4,844 103

10,08,226 560

8,146 5

Chhattisgarh

10,05,120 26

297 0

9,91,260 26

13,563

Rajasthan

9,54,275 12

99 8

9,45,222 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,751 14

133 0

8,15,536 14

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,410 8

90 6

7,81,803 14

10,517

Haryana

7,70,754 8

328 12

7,60,618 20

9,808

Bihar

7,25,907 6

60 9

7,16,188 15

9,659

Telangana

6,63,906 244

4,938 53

6,55,061 296

3,907 1

Punjab

6,01,359 36

304 3

5,84,554 37

16,501 2

Assam

5,98,864 441

5,081 97

5,87,970 338

5,813 6

Jharkhand

3,48,139 14

65 10

3,42,941 4

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,405 12

249 18

3,35,765 29

7,391 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,28,214 145

1,450 11

3,22,345 154

4,419 2

Himachal Pradesh

2,17,403 263

1,715 99

2,12,033 162

3,655 2

Goa

1,75,690 107

886 76

1,71,507 29

3,297 2

Puducherry

1,25,618 101

922 55

1,22,864 46

1,832

Manipur

1,18,870 197

2,174 9

1,14,861 203

1,835 3

Tripura

83,956 51

353 7

82,794 44

809

Mizoram

82,815 1,355

15,363 223

67,184 1,127

268 5

Meghalaya

79,817 150

1,878 18

76,558 167

1,381 1

Chandigarh

65,195 7

44 3

64,333 4

818

Arunachal Pradesh

54,190 64

413 3

53,504 60

273 1

Sikkim

31,014 43

627 27

30,007 70

380

Nagaland

30,959 52

470 3

29,832 46

657 3

Ladakh

20,743 6

144 6

20,392

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

0 0

10,666

4

Lakshadweep

10,360 1

9 1

10,300

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,607 7

17 4

7,461 3

129

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