Infectious disease expert on breakthrough COVID-19 cases

Published: Jan. 5, 2022 at 7:49 AM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The Medical Director of Infectious Disease at Baptist Memorial Health Care says there is still some misinformation out there about vaccines, particularly when it comes to breakthrough cases and why they happen.

The experts say the omicron variant cut way back on the efficiency of the vaccine to prevent any infections, that’s even mild infections.

It went from about 70% down to 30%, but with a booster that has increased again to 70-75% and that’s against any infection. Still those breakthroughs with omicron are going to happen.

Doctor Stephen Threlkeld says anyone that got an RNA vaccine months ago, it’s very common for those people to get reinfected. However, none of them, or very few of them are ending up in the ICU like the unvaccinated.

The doctor says if you’re boosted there is protection, not just against severe illness but it cuts down on you getting sick period.

He says when looking at actual cases in the area they have seen quite a few spouse pairs where one will get it, but both are boosted and the other won’t get it despite sleeping in the same room for nights. But they typically don’t see that unless both people are boosted.

“It’s probably a combination of lower virus excretion in a person that’s been boosted, just better antibody and immune response and better protection barrier in the person who doesn’t have it that, who’s been boosted,” said Threlkeld.

“So I think we’ve seen real-world evidence in what we do all that day that is actually happening and certainly it really does prevent infection at all and of course, that is important particularly when you’re trying to break the spread of the virus throughout the community.”

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