Variants and the vaccinated
April 16, 2021 7:59 PM   Subscribe

Can you point me to some actual evidence-based recent thinking about the risk of getting sick from a Covid variant after being fully vaccinated?

I'm traveling to a critical hotspot soon, where a more lethal and contagious variant of the virus is creating a true emergency.
I can't tell from breathless news segments whether all these cases driving up the rate of infection in the hotspot are occurring among unvaccinated people, or whether a decent percent of those getting sick now are actually vaccinated?
I hear a lot of speculation that If you get it after the vaccine it won't be as bad. I've also heard anecdotes about people in my own world getting sick in breakout infections after being vaccinated.
I also know not enough time has passed to really know anything for sure. Given that, I am looking for the most reliable discussion about risks of breakout infection for vaccinated people now, as variants are rising, in hot spots.
posted by nantucket to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
The CDC just released some data about people who get COVID after being fully vaccinated and you can read about it here. They call these "breakthrough" infections (that would be the googleable term) and they're still super rare but do occasionally happen. They did not discuss the variants specifically. A few facts

- 75 million people in the US have been fully vaccinated, the CDC received 5,814 reports of vaccine breakthrough infections from 43 U.S. states and territories.
- 45% were in people over 60
- 65% were in women
- 7% of those people (of those 5814 people) had to be hospitalized and 74 people died. They do state that in some cases it was unclear if COVID was the cause of hospitalization or death, but they're still counted

So in general, the same stuff holds: don't presume you're immune, take reasonable precautions, particularly about ventilation and proximity to others
posted by jessamyn at 8:23 PM on April 16, 2021 [7 favorites]

There was a good twitter thread (which itself links to another good thread) by virologist Dr. Angela Rasmussen commenting on some research specifically about fully-vaccinated people and variants recently.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:51 PM on April 16, 2021 [3 favorites]

(And the threads were both describing/summarizing this study.)
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:53 PM on April 16, 2021 [1 favorite]

Gizmodo has an article explaining how some media sources are basically going antivax when they got the wrong message from the research results.

TL;DR -- Pfizer version may be somewhat ineffective against UK or South African Variants, according to the Israeli report, but the vulnerability seems to be ONLY WITHIN the 2 week period after 2nd dose.
“We think that this reduced effectiveness occurs only in a short window of time (no B.1.351 cases 14+ days post 2nd dose), and that the S.A. variant does not spread efficiently. Thus, even more of a reason to get vaccinated and drive down cases to zero!” Stern added.
posted by kschang at 9:04 PM on April 16, 2021 [6 favorites]

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