While there is much to be grateful for now that several vaccines have been proven to be extremely successful in stopping the spread of COVID-19, it is important to remember that NO vaccine is 100% effective at preventing illness in vaccinated people. While more than 115 million Americans have been fully vaccinated by May 10, 2021, a small number of these fully vaccinated people will still get sick, become hospitalized, or die from COVID-19.
These ‘breakthrough cases’ are defined as “the of SARS-CoV-2 RNA or antigen in a respiratory specimen collected from a person ≥14 days after they have completed all recommended doses of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-authorized COVID-19 vaccine.” Even though a vaccine is working as expected, symptomatic COVID-19 infections among vaccinated people will also occur.
While current data suggest that COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the United States offer protection against most SARS-CoV-2 variants currently circulating in the United States, those variants will cause some vaccine breakthrough cases. It is the nature of a virus to evolve, and while the vaccination efforts have been very successful, we will see a small percentage of breakthrough infections.
That is why COVID testing is still important, even for fully vaccinated individuals. If you or your family find yourselves in any of the following situations, we recommend you continue to get tested:
Working in crowded environments
Preparing to/returning from travel
Healthcare or eldercare provider