Jomagine last night you developed some runny nose and a sore throat. When you woke up this morning, you started coughing and you have a fever. Last year, your mind would have jumped immediately to COVID-19. But if you are already completely vaccinated, you might be wondering: should I continue to take the COVID-19 test?
As a doctor of infectious diseases, I am often asked this question. The answer is yes. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get a COVID-19 test even if you are completely vaccinated. You will not have a high risk of hospitalization or serious illness, but if you are infected can transmit the virus to an unvaccinated person, who could then become very ill.
Vaccines work but are not 100% effective
Researchers have developed some amazing COVID-19 vaccines over the last year. The high efficacy of these vaccines in a tightly controlled clinical trial environment coincides with their effectiveness in real life. Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines are maintained more than 90% effective in preventing hospitalization or death.
However, this does not mean that you have the same degree of protection against infection.
Recent research estimates that they offer mRNA vaccines 70% to 85% protection against infection. It is impossible to know if a person is fully protected or may still develop a mild case if they are exposed to the coronavirus.
If you became infected, you could still spread the virus. And that’s why testing is still important.
What is an advanced case?
When a person becomes infected with the coronavirus after being completely vaccinated, this is called an advanced case. Advanced cases demonstrate a basic principle of infectious diseases: whether or not a person becomes infected depends on the balance between two factors: the intensity of exposure and immune competition.
Exposure intensity it refers to the proximity of an uninfected person to a virus that expels highly infectious individuals while talking and how long the two people are in contact. Immune competition is related to the body’s inherent protection against COVID-19. Unvaccinated people who have never been infected with the coronavirus have no protection (after all it is a completely new virus), while fully vaccinated people will be much more protected.
According to the CDC, as of April 30, 2021, there had been a total 10,262 known advanced infections of the SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in U.S. states and territories. They are usually asymptomatic or only mildly symptomatic cases, and most do not involve hospitalization. Advanced cases will continue to occur, even if these people are the coronavirus is less likely to spread to other people that unvaccinated individuals, they probably still can.
And what about SARS-CoV-2 variants? Well, the world has been lucky that mRNA vaccines in particular they offer significant protection against all major variants which have arisen so far. But it is quite possible that at some point in the coronavirus strain could mutate i partially or completely escape protection against vaccines. This is another good reason to get tested if you feel bad.
As vaccination rates increase and daily case counts decrease in the U.S. and other countries, so do important to monitor the coronavirus closely. COVID-19 testing allows officials to track the amount of viruses in a community, and positive test results can help people quarantine before unknowingly spreading them. the virus to other people. So, yes, get tested if you have symptoms related to symptoms, even if you are completely vaccinated.
Arif R. Sarwari, Doctor, associate professor of infectious diseases, president of the department of medicine, University of West Virginia
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