MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota health officials are on the lookout for positive COVID-19 cases after someone has been fully vaccinated.
These types of infections are called “vaccine breakthrough cases.” The Minnesota Department of Health says it’s important to track positive cases 14 days or more after a second vaccination. It could help the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention better understand the duration of immunity from vaccines.
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Karla was relieved when her 79-year-old mother, Sharon, received her second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer on February 10. Thirteen days later, he tested positive for the virus after feeling unwell.
“I was really worried about her,” Karla said. “She had a sore throat and a cough, and I said, ‘Mom, you have to get tested for COVID.’
Within a few days, it felt good. The new data suggests that people are well protected after their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, and are about 95% effective after the second dose, according to MDH’s Kris Ehresmann.
“The vaccine is 95% effective, which means that theoretically, out of 100 vaccinated people, there may be five who do not have the same level of response to provide protection,” Ehresmann said.
MDH sent a warning to healthcare providers this week, asking them to look for people who test positive for COVID 14 days after completing the second dose, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic.
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Although Sharon’s case is not considered a vaccine breakthrough, as her positive test came before the two-week cutoff after her second dose, health officials say it is a reminder to continue to take precautions.
“You still need to mask, you still need to make sure you’re socially distancing yourself and consider those mitigation guideline measures that we’ve been talking about for the last year,” Ehresmann said.
Karla says she is thankful that her mother had only mild symptoms.
“It’s possible that if she hadn’t gotten the vaccine, it could have been a totally different story,” he said.
MDH says they have had 14 confirmed COVID cases in Minnesota. All of them were found in healthcare workers and were only detected because routine tests are performed for work. In addition, all had little or no symptoms.
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The CDC says that even getting a flu shot only reduces your risk by 40% to 60%.