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Experts reveal why you’re still getting COVID-19 even if you’re vaccinated

You can get COVID-19 if you’re vaccinated. There’s a reason why

Andrew Olsen gets a rapid COVID-19 antigen test at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Andrew Olsen gets a rapid COVID-19 antigen test from Kellen Harter, of the Utah National Guard, at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The novel coronavirus can still infect fully vaccinated people. But it’s not because the vaccines aren’t working. Experts said breakthrough cases happen for a number of reasons.

Why do fully vaccinated people get COVID-19?

To start, the vaccines are not 100% effective. In fact, new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 99.999% of fully vaccinated people did not have a severe breakthrough case that led to hospitalization or death, CNN reports.

Lawrence Young, a virologist and professor at the University of Warwick’s Medical School in the U.K., told CNBC that these breakthrough cases are often a reminder.

  • “There will always be a proportion of individuals who will still remain susceptible to infection and illness,” he told CNBC.

And then there’s another factor. The new COVID-19 strains — like the delta variant — are reportedly more transmissible, meaning they can infect fully vaccinated people and spread between them, according to CNBC.

  • There is also incomplete data about how the delta variant impacts the population.

Breakthrough COVID-19 cases expected

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Aug. 6 that the world should expect breakthrough cases to happen, especially as more variants become common, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

  • “I think we all have to recognize that with 164 million people who are vaccinated, we should expect tens of thousands, perhaps, of breakthrough infections,” Walensky told CNN
  • “Those breakthrough infections have mild illness. They are staying out of the hospital. They are not dying, and I think that that’s the most important thing to understand,” Walensky told CNN.